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I got a really good deal on an AudioFrog 3 way (gb60,gb25,gb10) that I will be installing in the near future. I am currently using my iPhone to hec card in helix pro to Phoenix gold ti21600.5 to hybrid imagine 6x9 in front doors, and Morel CCWR254 in dash location (temporarily tweeterless) and 5th channel to a Dayton HO 12” sub. I could add an old school 2 channel Alpine amp for the tweeters but I am kind of wanting to try out different amp(s). I like the Phoenix gold amp but itching to try something else. What amp combo would you recommend that would be an upward and not lateral move for me ? Budget possibly $1,300 if I can get $300-$400 for my PG amp.
 

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Unless you spend a good amount, it's all lateral until you try something. The main thing you might experience even with amps within the same price tier is a slightly different sonic signature and how the amp approaches clipping (hard or soft ). Are you really wanting to spend that kind of cash to hear some slight audible differences? Or are you just itching to spend money?


If it was matching amps for a more aesthetically pleasing install, I could see, but I have to go against the grain of suggestions to come on swapping.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

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I think just about anything will be a lateral move. I think trying to improve a system by "upgrading" amplifiers is a fool's errand. If you want an improvement, change the tune, or the speakers.
 

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Unless you spend a good amount, it's all lateral until you try something. The main thing you might experience even with amps within the same price tier is a slightly different sonic signature and how the amp approaches clipping (hard or soft ). Are you really wanting to spend that kind of cash to hear some slight audible differences? Or are you just itching to spend money?


If it was matching amps for a more aesthetically pleasing install, I could see, but I have to go against the grain of suggestions to come on swapping.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
Definitely not itching to throw away money for minor audible difference for sure , thanks for your input .
 

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I think just about anything will be a lateral move. I think trying to improve a system by "upgrading" amplifiers is a fool's errand. If you want an improvement, change the tune, or the speakers.
Changing the speakers and tune, just thought while I was at it that I might try out something different on my amps. I don’t want to spend several hundred for a lateral move, and I don’t have several thousand to spend for significant sound improvement.
 

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Changing the speakers and tune, just thought while I was at it that I might try out something different on my amps. I don’t want to spend several hundred for a lateral move, and I don’t have several thousand to spend for significant sound improvement.
The only time an amp makes a significant improvement is when moving from a really crappy, or broken amp. Besides that, most amps are so similar that I wouldn't ever encourage anyone to swap amps in an attempt to improve the sound quality.
 

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The only time an amp makes a significant improvement is when moving from a really crappy, or broken amp. Besides that, most amps are so similar that I wouldn't ever encourage anyone to swap amps in an attempt to improve the sound quality.
Not necessarily true, I’m sure you would see a significant improvement moving from a decent amp to a higher end amp like Brax, McIntosh, Sinfoni, Tru Tech ..... etc. I won’t , cause I don’t have that kind of money to spend. 😉
 

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The only time I’ve noticed a difference between quality amps with a couple cheap ones (like a PPI P900.4) is McIntosh and that’s due to the tubes that add, in my opinion, artificial ”distortion’.
 

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Sorry guys, I wasn’t intentionally trying to get into the discussion of “do all amps sound the same”, but I guess , in a way, that is kind of what I’m asking. Same question, but let me ask a different way. Has anyone had any experience with my particular amp moving to say Arc, JL, Audison, mmats or even Zapco LX amps ?
 

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Not necessarily true, I’m sure you would see a significant improvement moving from a decent amp to a higher end amp like Brax, McIntosh, Sinfoni, Tru Tech ..... etc. I won’t , cause I don’t have that kind of money to spend. 😉
I highly doubt it. It a proper double blind test, with gains matched perfectly (this is an important step that nobody does when comparing amps) you would be very, very hard pressed to guess which one was the "high end" amp with repeatable results. The distortion from the speakers alone is enough to mask any potential differences there. If you were comparing a Brax with a flea market amp, I'd agree, but comparing it to a competent brand like Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, etc. I'm incredibly skeptical. That is the reason that nobody has claimed Richard Clark's $10,000 prize.

I'm not claiming all competent amps are exactly the same, but the differences are very small, and if you think about what an amplifier does, the differences should be very small. It's not surprising that well designed and well built amps sound so similar, all they are supposed to do is amplify the signal, while keeping it as true to the original as possible. Truthfully, that's not very difficult to do these days.
 

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The only time I’ve noticed a difference between quality amps with a couple cheap ones (like a PPI P900.4) is McIntosh and that’s due to the tubes that add, in my opinion, artificial ”distortion’.
Tubes add distortion, you're correct. That is what give the classic "warm, tube sound." That distortion is even order, and we actually like even order distortion, it's the odd order distortion that sounds really bad to us.
 

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I highly doubt it. It a proper double blind test, with gains matched perfectly (this is an important step that nobody does when comparing amps) you would be very, very hard pressed to guess which one was the "high end" amp with repeatable results. The distortion from the speakers alone is enough to mask any potential differences there. If you were comparing a Brax with a flea market amp, I'd agree, but comparing it to a competent brand like Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, etc. I'm incredibly skeptical. That is the reason that nobody has claimed Richard Clark's $10,000 prize.

I'm not claiming all competent amps are exactly the same, but the differences are very small, and if you think about what an amplifier does, the differences should be very small. It's not surprising that well designed and well built amps sound so similar, all they are supposed to do is amplify the signal, while keeping it as true to the original as possible. Truthfully, that's not very difficult to do these days.
I agree that the job of an amplifier is to amplify the signal without coloration. I also agree that most well built amps with gains properly set should sound identical, but there has got to be a reason why a lot of people in this hobby drop thousands of dollars on the higher end amps, other than bragging rights.
 

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I agree that the job of an amplifier is to amplify the signal without coloration. I also agree that most well built amps with gains properly set should sound identical, but there has got to be a reason why a lot of people in this hobby drop thousands of dollars on the higher end amps, other than bragging rights.
You may be very surprised. Sonically, I would put my current class D Kenwood amp right up there with my old Zuki and Denon A/B amps. I never demo'd them side by side, but prestige is a huge part of this hobby, look at any audiophile magazine, people spend thousands of dollars on cables, and other snake oil that does not change the sound. Not all amps are created equal, but the difference is much, much smaller than people are willing to admit. Amplifiers are the absolute last place that it makes sense to go with high end products. Speakers, source unit, source material, install, and tune each play a bigger role than the amplifier does. I would take top tier speakers running off of a $200 Kenwood amp, over a Brax amp and mid level speakers every single time.
 

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You are probably right, what Kenwood amp are you running ?
It's the Excelon XR901.5, I spent $215, and it's rock solid with no noticeable noise floor.

I think the high end amps have their place, there are some gorgeous looking, well designed, well built amps that really are fine pieces, but they have very little to no sonic advantage over a well built "common" amp. My point is simply for people not to put a huge amount of focus and stress on amp selection, everything else is more important.
 

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I'm using 2 addictive audio a/b type amps. They are rated 135 watts x 4. I am going active 3 way up front + rear fill, also using a helix ultra dsp.
 

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Tubes add distortion, you're correct. That is what give the classic "warm, tube sound." That distortion is even order, and we actually like even order distortion, it's the odd order distortion that sounds really bad to us.
I’d rather my amps have no added distortion. I understand tubes are supposed to have pleasant distortion but I’m pretty sure the recording wasn’t recorded with pleasant distortion. And I’m one that has done an A/B with a high-end McIntosh tube amp and I wasn’t impressed, seemed fake to me. But to each their own.
 

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but prestige is a huge part of this hobby, look at any audiophile magazine, people spend thousands of dollars on cables, and other snake oil that does not change the sound.
My dad just bought some speakers, integrated amp, and DAC. The LSA 20 Statement speakers were pretty with some rosewood veneer but I wasn’t too impressed by their sound, not enough top end detail and sparkle for me. And the fancy polished aluminum chassis looked nice but I couldn’t read the engraved text on the back. Not very user friendly. But damn if everything didn’t look fancy as hell. I told my dad that he was too busy listening with his eyes.

in my opinion he should have spent just a bit more on the speakers to get much better performing speakers in the JBL M2 reference speakers. Oh well.
 

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Those are killer speakers (Audiofrog GB 3-ways) and an awesome DSP. I would definitely drive all that good equipment with good quality amps. Look at the Audiocontrol LC-6.1200 for the 3 ways and the LC-1.800 for your sub. I believe those 2 amps together would fit your budget.
 
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