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Old 12-24-2012   #26
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

I had a friend that felt the same way. We built our systems at nearly the same time. His with some RF amps and i built mine with Zapco...

After slowly replacing every component in his system to be on par with mine, convinced that an amp is an amp. He finally caved and just bought some nice SQ amps... Says it doesn't even sound like the same system now.

I demo amps inside my home on some very nice klipsch reference speakers and can hear a difference between amps. I recently hooked up an old Linear power amp to them and it sounded better than my home stereo amp...
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Old 12-26-2012   #27
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by subwoofery View Post
If you can't hear a difference, change your speakers

Kelvin
agreed 100%. if you have a detailed, revealing set of drivers, especially a three-way system, it will bring out the differences in amplifier characteristics.
i have had (3) amps since diving back into aftermarket mobile audio ( a cheap class D, a good class D and a good class A-B). each amplifier demonstrated unique, distinct and repeatable sound characteristic differences.

if i had left the OEM drivers in the doors i doubt i would have heard any differences.

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Old 12-26-2012   #28
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbno1 View Post
This horse is so dead. It reminds me of the Skittles commercial when the Zombie on the bus says "You're boring me to death. I'm already dead and you're boring me back to death!"

No one is going to convince anybody else they can or can't hear a difference between amps.

If you can hear a difference, spend extra money on your amps.

If you don't hear a difference, buy a reliable amp that has adequate power for your application and is reasonably priced.

Just for fun somebody start a thread on the audible differences between cables :-)
I do not agree with this. I believe someone who can hear the differences would be able to point them out to someone else in a demo. Once you lock in on the unique characteristics you will be able recognize and detect them. if they are irritating characteristics you will replace the amp.

I hope others will keep adding to this thread because their real world experiences will help others decide if upgrading amps is worth the investment.

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Old 12-26-2012   #29
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

for me, when i design systems for customers, i get them to spend money on things that are worth the most in sonic difference in my opinion. and that usually means that on a set budget, the priorities go towards front stage, installation technique/location and DSP...with amps and subs taking a lesser role, becuase i too believe that amps and subs dont quite make as big of a difference as long as t hey are of a certain quality level.

however, having said that, i have also had the opportunity to install a lot of systems where its the same or almost the same car, same speakers, same location, same processing, but different amps, and being able to do that, i can definitely tell a difference from one amp grade to another. mostly, its with dynamics music at moderately high volumes, you can distinctively hear some amps fall apart (despite similar power ratings) and some shrug it off like it was nothing.

but of course, with most customers who will never get to sample A/B between two identical setups with different amps, they would be happy with either setup...but the same thing can often be said for many aspects of decision making in life....and the desire to have the best is still there.

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Old 12-26-2012   #30
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

I agree Cajunner. It comes down to a point to where you are chasing dragons to attain the smidgen of difference that the majority don't care about. I don't believe in buying high ticket amps, but I do believe in quality drivers and staying above a certain minimum quality level for amp power. Simply overshooting the power level is good enough in most cases to insure you don't reach clipping before the drivers start to breakup. I'm satisfied with that.

Competition-wise may be a different story, but I don't compete so that point to me is moot. I'm actually more impressed with making systems perform & impress that don't have highly tiered brand names attached to show my buddies they don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy good sounds during everyday driving. That doesn't mean I don't respect those items for their esoteric design, I just know that I for one would not be able to tell the difference therefore it would be better spent on drivers.
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Old 12-26-2012   #31
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

My parent's always said I was special. I just knew I was different because I was the only one wearing the padded helmet.

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Old 12-26-2012   #32
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayboy View Post
I agree Cajunner. It comes down to a point to where you are chasing dragons to attain the smidgen of difference that the majority don't care about. I don't believe in buying high ticket amps, but I do believe in quality drivers and staying above a certain minimum quality level for amp power. Simply overshooting the power level is good enough in most cases to insure you don't reach clipping before the drivers start to breakup. I'm satisfied with that.

Competition-wise may be a different story, but I don't compete so that point to me is moot. I'm actually more impressed with making systems perform & impress that don't have highly tiered brand names attached to show my buddies they don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy good sounds during everyday driving. That doesn't mean I don't respect those items for their esoteric design, I just know that I for one would not be able to tell the difference therefore it would be better spent on drivers.
Agreed. I would never use cheap ass amps. The differences I am talking about involve really good speakers and mid to high level amps. Good name amps that put out clean power are those that I am talking about. I will stand by my statement that the sonic differences between amps are not distinguishable enough to justify spending extra money for a name brand. Build quality, access to gain controls and designs are most important to me. Designs for me mean using amps that don't have off the shelf designs.
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Old 12-26-2012   #33
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by subwoofery View Post
If you can't hear a difference, change your speakers

Kelvin
Seems to me if you can't hear a difference then the problem naturally resolved itself No need to change anything, especially the amplifier(s) !!
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Old 12-26-2012   #34
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Many threads of this nature.....I have heard level matched amps on my sound board and there is a difference. Will speakers, tuning and install yield a much bigger difference? Yes, but amps do sound different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
There is a difference between overkill and bad. Your idea isn't overkill, it's bad.
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Old 12-26-2012   #35
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Come on guys....are you telling us that every TV looks the same, every computer work just as fast, every headphones sound the same, every car drive the same way because they have all an engine, transmission, exhaust that all works together the same, every dvd player or blue ray players will yield the same picture, every dishwasher will get the dishes just as clean as one another because they all use similar technology....i could go on all day!

bottom line, all these manufacturer use (hopefully) their own R&D, they have of choice of different part suppliers (or in house production) I'm sure there is a lot of trial and error by using different parts to achieve their desired sound....didn't the Zapco guy just recently say that during the new build of his amplifier he had to go back n forth to his build house to demo specific parts/components to finally achieve the sound that he felt was most pleasing!...didn't Scott Buwulda comment also that when they build new speakers that he demos numerous different parts to finally achieve the final product where he can take to production....

I'm not arguing that there is a "huge" difference from one another, but in fact to say that they all sound the same is crazy (in "my" opinion)

but again I don't want to beat a dead horse here....

my wife doesn't really care too much about different TV technology or amplifier...but if I change an amp in my car she'll usually look at me and ask me if I've changed anything....or the typical "what have you done!" which I'm sure we"ve all heard from time to time
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Old 12-26-2012   #36
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Good amp+ great drivers+ excellent install and tuning= WIN.

Absolutely State Of The Art!
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Old 12-26-2012   #37
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

^ believe me for many reasons I have never bough anything from a "car audio" shop because of the way the amp/speaker/sub sounded from the sound board, so there I do agree...

but for many other reasons I disagree with the analogy that all amplifier sound the same, I may not have the engineer background or can't explain amplifier (topology very well) my 20+ years of experience of first hand switching and swapping gear tells me that not all amplifier/speakers/subs/source units are not created equally...and it would be so sad if it was...if it all sounded the same i'd be rocking some less expensive Legacy/Pyramid products (sorry guys)

to be honest, one thing I do believe is that we all percieve sight/sound/taste differently some of us can see better than others, some can hear better, again maybe just maybe some of the folks here that are debating that all amplifier sound the same maybe have hearing that perceives it that way? (i don't mean that in a bad way) I'm just saying it's like arguing with a colour blind individual that a colour is red when he tells you that it's brown and that everything is brown

I can't tell you guys to like food the way I like to eat my food...we are all able to make up our own minds when it comes to that...

I think that these types forums here were created by a need for people who share the same passion, to share stories to ask for help...a wonderful supporting idea, so many people here with such great knowledge and experience helping individual or ourselves to persue this audible uforia....plus 1 entrepeneur who hopefully is making a decent living supporting this
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Old 12-26-2012   #38
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Building upon Sound Suggestion’s comments,, I think a lot of these posts about “it all sounds the same”,,, and the pursuing argument,,, revolves around some people refusing to believe that others can hear or perceive details in music that they can’t.

People have different sized and shaped outer ears. So, it bears to reason that there would be slight variances within the 2K – 5K resonance range of this part of the ear and to some extend the initial “collection of sound”. This might be one of many reasons explaining people’s speaker preference regarding basic tonal characteristics or their ability to hear better details within that range.

Due to the mechanical complexity involved and the critical role that the middle and inner ear plays in the auditory process (converting sound waves into neurons/neural signals), I can’t help but believe this is another area, for varying physiological or medical reasons, that explains variances in people’s perception of the music and the amount of detail sent for “processing”. It’s like,, good in, good out,,, and bad in,, bad out.

I don’t think anyone can argue there are people gifted with capabilities that exceed normal, like those with photographic memories and musicians that are able to perfectly play a piece of music instantly after hearing it for the first time. There are also “super tasters” that make up about 25% of the population and those with better than 20/20 vision. These abilities can be witnessed, easily proven, and therefore accepted.

However, one’s ability to perceive sound and at what detail or recollection of detail is hard to prove, but it certainly stands to reason,, there are more than likely those able to “hear” and perceive sounds better than others. About the closest thing to proof that I know if is that CT scans have shown some areas, other than just the auditory cortex of the brain,, in some people,,, when subjected to sounds are more active than others - typically in areas of the brain that normally deal with recollection. However,, even experts within that field of study can’t agree on what that means – what they can agree on is that no two cortices perform in the exact same way.
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Old 12-26-2012   #39
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

How big of a difference do you see in the very high end? I have never had a chance to compare A to B to C all at the same time. None of the shops cary anything really high end other than the top end JL, alpine, kenwood. I have switched from jl 450/4 to a zapco z150.4 in my truck and noticed a big difference between the two of them.

I would really be curious to try to hear the differences in the very best amps out there. Have there been any good write ups of high end amp shootouts like the mids shootout that Jerry did? I would love to hear very knowledgeable blind opinions of the very best amps that you can get.
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Old 12-27-2012   #40
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

This has been argued before with Richard Clark who posed a challenge that no one has yet to beat:


Richard Clark Amplifier Challenge FAQ
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Old 12-27-2012   #41
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayboy View Post
This has been argued before with Richard Clark who posed a challenge that no one has yet to beat:


Richard Clark Amplifier Challenge FAQ
Did you understand the purpose of this test?
And why, in your opinion, is your link relevant to this thread?

Kelvin

Lycan
Quote:
I'll repeat it for the miliionth time : All amps do NOT sound the same ... It's astonishing to me that nobody understands this
Who knows, some might understand now
and here's another one and another <-- click on the links
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Old 12-27-2012   #42
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

From what I have read on this test before (some years ago), his point was to prove that when all amps are ran within certain stringent settings (below a certain level of clipping), that there were no audible differences between them that could be detected by the human ear. If you read through his tests it shows that the only differences were per setup through gain & crossover settings in the real world, but in testing with ALL things equal there were none.


To me, this is the same in this thread.

Now can I ask, what is your stance on this?
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Old 12-27-2012   #43
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

It basically states that things that measure the same, sound the same.
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Old 12-27-2012   #44
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by subwoofery View Post
Did you understand the purpose of this test?
And why, in your opinion, is your link relevant to this thread?

Kelvin


I take it from this, that it is not relevant or perhaps I didn't understand the purpose of the test.
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Old 12-27-2012   #45
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

The RC Challenge levels the playing field in regards to volume and distortion (clipping) between two amplifiers, to leave us with only tonal variations that he claims do not exist under the conditions of the test.
This is a purely scientific exercise as it (I assume) doesn't allow any equalization to color the output of either amp. You probably wouldn't want to spend alot of time listening to either amp under these conditions for just that reason. However, his claim seems to remain valid as no one has ever taken his money.

Absolutely State Of The Art!
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Old 12-27-2012   #46
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayboy View Post
From what I have read on this test before (some years ago), his point was to prove that when all amps are ran within certain stringent settings (below a certain level of clipping), that there were no audible differences between them that could be detected by the human ear. If you read through his tests it shows that the only differences were per setup through gain & crossover settings in the real world, but in testing with ALL things equal there were none.


To me, this is the same in this thread.

Now can I ask, what is your stance on this?
Took me a while to find it but here it is:
Elite Car Audio : Car Audio Forum - Richard Clark's Amp Challenge
^ please focus on the part that says COMMON MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE AMP CHALLENGE

The RC Amp challenge doesn't say that all amps sound the same... In fact, your link says the opposite.

Quote:
There were appeals to either delete or relocate the posts that were outside the original purpose of the sticky. saratoga's response was
Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga
I'll probably just delete this crap once its over. Until then, its probably easier for everyone if we keep it in the same thread.
Members appealed to not have that happen as they felt the discussion was interesting and informative. Moving these posts here is an effort to fulfill that request and stop the disruption of the original thread.

Please use this thread for any further discussions about hardware testing once it's unlocked. Hair splitting as to what constitutes hardware vs. software testing won't be tolerated.

Moving the posts and then unlocking this thread may take a bit as I'm trying to be careful to not break the continuity the discussion in the other post had. I'm also trying to make sure any information that might be helpful won't be lost.

Also any continuation of the rudeness that cause the other thread to be locked and triggered the clean up won't be allowed. If you can't figure out how to play nice you won't be able to play at all.
************************************************** ******************************************


Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmatic View Post
land.com/tests/ampchall/index.htm"]Expensive amplifiers sound better than ordinary amplifiers debunked.[/URL]
From that link:

Quote:
Amplifier requirements

The amplifiers in the test must be operated within their linear power capacity. Power capacity is defined as clipping or 2% THD 20Hz to 10kHz, whichever is less. This means that if one amplifier has more power (Watts) than the other, the amplifiers will be judged within the power range of the least powerful amplifier .

The levels of both left and right channels will be adjusted to match to within .05 dB. Polarity of connections must be maintained so that the signal is not inverted. Left and Right cannot be reversed. Neither amplifier can exhibit excessive noise. Channel separation of the amps must be at least 30 dB from 20Hz to 20kHz.

All signal processing circuitry (e.g. bass boost, filters) must be turned off, and if the amplifier still exhibits nonlinear frequency response, an equalizer will be set by Richard Clark and inserted inline with one of the amps so that they both exhibit identical frequency response. The listener can choose which amplifier gets the equalizer

and

Quote:
Does this mean all amps sound the same in a normal install?

No. Richard Clark is very careful to say that amps usually do not sound the same in the real world. The gain setting of an amplifier can make huge differences in how an amplifier sounds, as can details like how crossovers or other filters are set. When played very loud (into clipping), the amplifier with more power will generally sound better than a lower powered amp.

Most people perceive slight differences in amplitude as quality differences rather than loudness. The louder component sounds “faster, more detailed, more full”, not just louder. This perceptual phenomenon is responsible for many people thinking they liked the sound of a component when really they just liked the way it was set up.

but this is where it kind of gets to the point:

Quote:
Does the phrase "a watt is a watt" convey what this test is about?


Not quite but close. Richard Clark has stated that some amplifiers (such as tubes) have nonlinear frequency response, so a watt from them would not be the same as a watt from an amplifier with flat frequency response.
What this test ignores is that a more expensive amplifier's quality difference is by and large going to be based on several factors... Such as linearity, or a preferred sound characteristic. Such as a warmer sound, as comes from tubes... Due to solid state amplifiers inherently relying on negative feedback for stability (which cancels out even order harmonics).

His tests rely on coloring the results to make "all things equal", when in fact they are not. He stacked the deck in his favor, before the test even began. I could respect it, if he wanted to place limitations on the volume control to ensure no one clipped an amp to reveal its identity. But, he went waaaay beyond that.
^ the above quote is from something I saved in .pdf form (don't remember from which website...) - am not gonna rewrite an explanation when someone can do it better than me

The test is exactly as Jason (thehatedguy) posted, "all amps that measure the same, sound the same" - and FYI, no amp measures the same without some form of equalization (lots of it too):
It is time we see the standings: Do amplifiers have a sonic fingerprint?
A post I made that shows the distortion caracteristics over the whole bandwith - please note the frequency response is different for all those amps too

Kelvin

Lycan
Quote:
I'll repeat it for the miliionth time : All amps do NOT sound the same ... It's astonishing to me that nobody understands this
Who knows, some might understand now
and here's another one and another <-- click on the links
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Old 12-27-2012   #47
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

FWIW, I think amps make a difference, just not as much of a difference as other things like speakers,and processing....
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Old 12-27-2012   #48
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

So let's propose that someone is using a certain tier amp with a supposed sonic signature that is ran from a MS-8. Now take that same MS-8 and another amp on that same level and what do you think would happen after running both through the setup as normal. Would you be hearing the difference of the amp or what has been adjusted by the processor?
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Old 12-27-2012   #49
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Originally Posted by Bayboy View Post
So let's propose that someone is using a certain tier amp with a supposed sonic signature that is ran from a MS-8. Now take that same MS-8 and another amp on that same level and what do you think would happen after running both through the setup as normal. Would you be hearing the difference of the amp or what has been adjusted by the processor?
Source signal will be the same but the different amplifiers will amplify the source signal the way that they were individuality manufactured to do so...by using different parts, power supply, amplifier topology (a, a/B, d...) their is no way each amp will amplify the source signal the same every time! Sure it will sound similar...

Now and I do buy the argument that at 100kms a hour it is very hard to distinguish sound but from one another, but parked and doing critical listening their is no way a Sony xploid will sound the same as a butler tube amp!!
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Old 12-27-2012   #50
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

LOL Those are two extremes, but I get your point. It just seems at some point you will reach diminishing returns in trying to reach beyond what level you are already on, or there is no next level. Has anyone here ever changed amps to something they thought was supposed to be the cat's meow only to find it was fairly lateral at best? Was the supposed slight sonic signature actually worth it in a a normal everyday driving situation? Keep in mind that vast differences in distortion are not what is discussed here, or is it?
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