Have your say & ask the experts!

No such thing as the perfect amp.

128 replies [Last post]
Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

CnoEvil wrote:

I try to make my contribution proactive, positive, supportive and relevant...but personal bias always creeps in.

I would never suggest otherwise of you, but in the context of the earlier comments about ABX testing (or any other double blind test) the differences that you perceive, are probably not as great as you imagine or may well not exist at all when compared in such a fashion. The differences also need to be taken into context with the differing environments that you have heard the systems in, as these differing environments in themselves are likely as not, going to affect what you hear more than the system components themselves.

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11414
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

pauln wrote:

I really don't get what you're saying - surely the recording engineers objective is to get as close as possible to the real thing therefore accuracy to the recording is the same as accuracy to the real thing?

Additionally, any non acoustic music is amplified anyway; on live gigs the music, including acoustic is amplified and played through the PA  so what are you trying to achieve? What is the real thing? The live sound is dictated by the acoustics of the venue, they are all different and the job of the sound engineer is to remove as much of that 'difference' as he can.

If recording engineers always got it right, there would be no bad recordings, and no "loudness war".....certain labels and certain recording engineers do much better than others eg. I like  Chesky, Telarc, Twisted records and Harmonia Mundi

FWIW I use un-miked stuff as my real world reference, especially piano, violin, trumpet and soprano....and if you go to enough concerts, you get a personal benchmark on how it should sound. It helped that I played in a school orchestra and my mother was a classically trained singer.

IMO. It's easy to over-analyze the whole thing...and even harder to explain to someone who comes at this from a completely different perspective.

__________________

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

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11414
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

Overdose wrote:

I would never suggest otherwise of you, but in the context of the earlier comments about ABX testing (or any other double blind test) the differences that you perceive, are probably not as great as you imagine or may well not exist at all when compared in such a fashion. The differences also need to be taken into context with the differing environments that you have heard the systems in, as these differing environments in themselves are likely as not, going to affect what you hear more than the system components themselves.

In reality, almost nobody does elaborate blind testing every time they listen to something. 99.9% of people on forums simply pass on their experience, and almost all magazine reviews do similar....and it's always subjective. 

This means that when people are putting together a system, mag reviews and the personal experiences of others, combined with extensive testing at dealers and at home, is usually enough for most people to make the right decision. ABX testing, although useful, is not the "be all and end all" of choosing a system.

 

__________________

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

Ajani's picture
Offline
Joined: 9 Apr 2008
Posts: 779
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

pauln wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:
The two groups on here will never agree ie Accuracy to the recording vs Accuracy to the real thing (Neutral vs Natural, as I like to call it...which i know is a little simplistic).

I really don't get what you're saying - surely the recording engineers objective is to get as close as possible to the real thing therefore accuracy to the recording is the same as accuracy to the real thing?

 

No. Accurately reproducing what is on the recording is not the same as accurately reproducing the live event. The two CAN produce the same results ONLY if the recording correctly captures the live event. 

 

A simple example is: 

 

Accurate reproduction of the recording means that if the recording is bright, then the sound coming from the HiFi system should be equally bright.

 

Accurate reproduction of the live even means that if the recording is brighter than the live event, then the HiFi will have to be warmer to compensate for the failure in the recording. 

 

The same principle can be applied to soundstage, detail retrieval, and just about anything else we listen for in HiFi.

 

It is one of the reasons why some persons feel that dipoles sound more like live music. As those speakers will create a more concert hall like effect (regardless of whether such an effect is contained in the recording). This effect will sound great with music designed for such a venue, but can be really offputting for other genres (pop, rap, etc) that really shouldn't have so much reflected sound. 

__________________

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

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

CnoEvil wrote:

This means that when people are putting together a system, mag reviews and the personal experiences of others, combined with extensive testing at dealers and at home, is usually enough for most people to make the right decision. ABX testing, although useful, is not the "be all and end all" of choosing a system.

But it would largely put an end to box swapping in the never ending quest for 'better'.  If sound quality of a given piece of equipment could demonstrably be shown to be alomst indistinguishable, or indeed the same, as a whole range of other pieces, then the purchaser could concentrate on more immediate variables, such as function, looks and cost.

In all honesty, if it could be proved to you beyond all reasonable doubt, that an AMS 35i sounded the same as some arbitrary valve or solid state amp of half the cost, would you still have bought the MF amp, given that it is the sound of the amp that is your main consideration?

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

steve_1979's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 3537
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

chebby wrote:

Any competent amplifier should be able to deal with any genre of music in a satisfactory manner.

No such thing as a good amp that 'does' one genre better than others because that would make it a bad amp.

Well said chebby.

That is pretty much word for word what I thought to myself when I read the first post in this thread.

__________________

PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1

Sony NWZ-A847 64GB Walkman > Westone UM3x

matt49's picture
Offline
Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 1513
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

Overdose wrote:

But it would largely put an end to box swapping in the never ending quest for 'better'.

i don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm interested to know what you have against "box swapping". Sales sustain the industry. With fewer sales, retailers and manufacturers will go to the wall. Would that be a good thing?

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11414
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

Overdose wrote:

But it would largely put an end to box swapping in the never ending quest for 'better'.  If sound quality of a given piece of equipment could demonstrably be shown to be alomst indistinguishable, or indeed the same, as a whole range of other pieces, then the purchaser could concentrate on more immediate variables, such as function, looks and cost.

In all honesty, if it could be proved to you beyond all reasonable doubt, that an AMS 35i sounded the same as some arbitrary valve or solid state amp of half the cost, would you still have bought the MF amp, given that it is the sound of the amp that is your main consideration?

We are never going to agree on this.

My argument is not to change your mind, but to explain my rationale.......I suspect half the forum completely understand where i'm coming from, whereas the other half think I am on the wrong track altogether.

If you ever get the chance to listen to a 35i, you might just see what I'm talking about......all those who have heard them would seem to agree, and more than a couple went on to buy them.  shifty

__________________

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

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11414
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

steve_1979 wrote:

chebby wrote:

Any competent amplifier should be able to deal with any genre of music in a satisfactory manner.

Well said chebby.

That is pretty much word for word what I thought to myself when I read the first post in this thread.

If you settle for "satisfactory", you settle for second best. It's like my old school report used to say: "This past term, CnoEvil has done reasonably well at Economics, but by applying himself more, could do better."  B-   shifty

 

__________________

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

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

matt49 wrote:

Overdose wrote:

But it would largely put an end to box swapping in the never ending quest for 'better'.

i don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm interested to know what you have against "box swapping". Sales sustain the industry. With fewer sales, retailers and manufacturers will go to the wall. Would that be a good thing?

I don't have anything against box swapping. If that's what you want to do, then fine, but it would be a more honest situation if people realised that by doing so would not neccessarily gain them any sonic benefits, however much they believe that to be the case.

There are many people caught up in the upgraditis merry-go-round that feel the need to continually 'improve' their system, spending more each time they do so, in fact they are positively encouraged by the industry to think that spending more will improve their lot when it is not neccessarily so. The very fact that systems are labelled budget, mid-range and high-end, is a perfect example of this, but nowhere does there seem to be anything to suggest that spending large sums of money on hifi, might just be a waste of money if purely sound quality is considered and in reality why would there be, as that would be the industry shooting itself in the foot.

I fully understand that people buy hifi (and anything really) with many factors deciding the purchase, but I'm not convinced that I agree with spending more equals better. The only guarantee is a lighter wallet.

 

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

CnoEvil wrote:

If you ever get the chance to listen to a 35i, you might just see what I'm talking about......all those who have heard them would seem to agree, and more than a couple went on to buy them.  shifty

I'm sure that's what the guy showing off his new valve amp against my Marantz that I bought from him thought too, but he was pleased with his purchase and who was I to tell him different. You pays yer money etc.

I wouldn't try to change your mind, that would not work, but an ABX test just might. Wink

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

CnoEvil wrote:

steve_1979 wrote:

chebby wrote:

Any competent amplifier should be able to deal with any genre of music in a satisfactory manner.

Well said chebby.

That is pretty much word for word what I thought to myself when I read the first post in this thread.

If you settle for "satisfactory", you settle for second best. It's like my old school report used to say: "This past term, CnoEvil has done reasonably well at Economics, but by applying himself more, could do better."  B-   shifty

 

I think the context might be 'satisfactory' as in , does not under perform or create any unwanted audible aberations, ie meets spec.

Smile

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11414
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

Overdose wrote:

I don't have anything against box swapping. If that's what you want to do, then fine, but it would be a more honest situation if people realised that by doing so would not neccessarily gain them any sonic benefits, however much they believe that to be the case.

There are many people caught up in the upgraditis merry-go-round that feel the need to continually 'improve' their system, spending more each time they do so, in fact they are positively encouraged by the industry to think that spending more will improve their lot when it is not neccessarily so. The very fact that systems are labelled budget, mid-range and high-end, is a perfect example of this, but nowhere does there seem to be anything to suggest that spending large sums of money on hifi, might just be a waste of money if purely sound quality is considered and in reality why would there be, as that would be the industry shooting itself in the foot.

I fully understand that people buy hifi (and anything really) with many factors deciding the purchase, but I'm not convinced that I agree with spending more equals better. The only guarantee is a lighter wallet.

No matter how few boxes you have, there is the temptation to swap it for a better one.

Spending more certainly doesn't guarantee getting a better sound....but that doesn't mean that you can't get better by spending more.

Absolutist statements seldom apply to hifi (imo).

__________________

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

matt49's picture
Offline
Joined: 7 Apr 2013
Posts: 1513
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

Overdose wrote:

matt49 wrote:

Overdose wrote:

But it would largely put an end to box swapping in the never ending quest for 'better'.

i don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm interested to know what you have against "box swapping". Sales sustain the industry. With fewer sales, retailers and manufacturers will go to the wall. Would that be a good thing?

I don't have anything against box swapping. If that's what you want to do, then fine, but it would be a more honest situation if people realised that by doing so would not neccessarily gain them any sonic benefits, however much they believe that to be the case.

There are many people caught up in the upgraditis merry-go-round that feel the need to continually 'improve' their system, spending more each time they do so, in fact they are positively encouraged by the industry to think that spending more will improve their lot when it is not neccessarily so. The very fact that systems are labelled budget, mid-range and high-end, is a perfect example of this, but nowhere does there seem to be anything to suggest that spending large sums of money on hifi, might just be a waste of money if purely sound quality is considered and in reality why would there be, as that would be the industry shooting itself in the foot.

I fully understand that people buy hifi (and anything really) with many factors deciding the purchase, but I'm not convinced that I agree with spending more equals better. The only guarantee is a lighter wallet.

 

ok, that wasn't my point, but it doesn't matter.

steve_1979's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Posts: 3537
RE: No such thing as the perfect amp.

CnoEvil wrote:

steve_1979 wrote:

chebby wrote:

Any competent amplifier should be able to deal with any genre of music in a satisfactory manner.

Well said chebby.

That is pretty much word for word what I thought to myself when I read the first post in this thread.

If you settle for "satisfactory", you settle for second best. It's like my old school report used to say: "This past term, CnoEvil has done reasonably well at Economics, but by applying himself more, could do better."  B-   shifty

 

For me an amp can only be 'satisfactory' if it's able to do it's job properly without any kind of audible distortion whatsoever. This means that all 'satisfactory' amplifiers sound identical to each other because there is no audible distortion.

 

Any amplifier that is less than audibly perfect (when not clipping) is very 'unsatisfactory' IMO and is not true hifi.

 

Audiably perfect = satisfactory

Anything else = unsatisfactory

__________________

PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1

Sony NWZ-A847 64GB Walkman > Westone UM3x