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kernow

'All amps sound the same'

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Now, obviously all amps don't sound the same.

I might be way off on this but , how hard is it to amplify a signal to make it louder?, I know little of electronics so I have no idea to be honest :P

The thing is I've heard many times that 'a well built amplifier should sound the same as any other' - but they are all built using different components, and end up sounding different. Surely its job is to just make the signal its fed louder and not do anything else to it, wouldn't that be up to the source?

I'm just curious as I'm upgrading my amp soon to its bigger brother and a couple of people have told me its going to make no difference, but I'll have to trust my ears when it arrives.

Obviously a manufacturer or designers idea of how an amp should sound so that it is doing its job and being neutral is different as we're all different people, but I can't get over the fact its just there to make the signal louder and not much else.

Anyway, yeah. What do you think?

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kernow wrote:

Now, obviously all amps don't sound the same.

I might be way off on this but , how hard is it to amplify a signal to make it louder?, I know little of electronics so I have no idea to be honest :P

The thing is I've heard many times that 'a well built amplifier should sound the same as any other' - but they are all built using different components, and end up sounding different. Surely its job is to just make the signal its fed louder and not do anything else to it, wouldn't that be up to the source?

I'm just curious as I'm upgrading my amp soon to its bigger brother and a couple of people have told me its going to make no difference, but I'll have to trust my ears when it arrives.

Obviously a manufacturer or designers idea of how an amp should sound so that it is doing its job and being neutral is different as we're all different people, but I can't get over the fact its just there to make the signal louder and not much else.

Anyway, yeah. What do you think?

if all the amps sound the same, why do list hi fi as an interest and not music ? just because people tell you they sound the same why listen to them ? listen to the amps and make up your own mind

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Guest murray johnson

Are you drunk Sodbury?

If not, why not?

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Didn't Peter Walker himself make some profound statement once that if amps were designed properly they'd all sound the same - something like that?

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The Strat wrote:

Didn't Peter Walker himself make some profound statement once that if amps were designed properly they'd all sound the same - something like that?

Peter Walker said that all competently designed amplifiers used within their design parameters will sound the same.

He then went further and sponsored a blind listening session with several industry luminaries that showed that the Quad II (bridged to increased the power), the QUAD 303 and the QUAD 405 all sounded the same.

Martin Collums disagreed with the methodology of the Quad-sponsored tests and sponsored his own, using amplifiers from various different manufacturers. The results werealso the same, that statistically, there is no audible difference between amplifiers when used within their design parameters.

That essentially means no clipping and driving loads whichare not more severe than was intended by the amplifier's designers.

Nothing in the intervening years has given me any reason to thinkthis resultis in any way invalid today.

S

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Recent Quads bake-off proved well-designed amps do sound very different - six well-regarded valve amps, from early 60s to current models, same source into the same speakers, all with radically different sonic signatures.

Peter Walker was being deliberately provocative. (I know it's unheard of isn't it).

I dont give a fuck what the measurements say, there are all sorts of reasons why real-world amps can sound different from each other.

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kennyk wrote:

kernow wrote:
Now, obviously all amps don't sound the same.

I might be way off on this but , how hard is it to amplify a signal to make it louder?, I know little of electronics so I have no idea to be honest :P

Aye, there's the rub.

Forgive me for being honest and wanting to instill some discussion, you smug arse.

:)

Thanks for everyone elses sensible replies though, interesting.

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montesquieu wrote:

Recent Quads bake-off proved well-designed amps do sound very different - six well-regarded valve amps, from early 60s to current models, same source into the same speakers, all with radically different sonic signatures.

Peter Walker was being deliberately provocative. (I know it's unheard of isn't it).

I dont give a fuck what the measurements say, there are all sorts of reasons why real-world amps can sound different from each other.

Would you like to be specific on a few?

S.

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Thats cool, its not the first time he's replied to one of my posts in a slightly blunt fashion though, if I misunderstood I apologize.

Internet forums and all that, I know the deal, I just wanted to see peoples opinions on it thats all, after all if I had dredged up a 3yr old thread about it that would have been looked at with sneering contempt also (I got that from the main index page, where it gives noobs little quips every day, I expect most of you old timers haven't seen them in a while ;) ).

Its a shame most forums turn out difficult for newcomers to enter, its always the case though. I'll stop moaning now because I have indeed read that thread about newcomers.. erm.. moaning.

Happy weekend everyone ! :D

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SergeAuckland wrote:

montesquieu wrote:

I dont give a fuck what the measurements say, there are all sorts of reasons why real-world amps can sound different from each other.

Would you like to be specific on a few?

S.

Well I'm not technical but I can think of two:

1) because the circuts are different and may have different effects on the original signal as it enters and passes through to output

2) because they may react differently to different loads/speaker configurations

measurements can tell us a lot but numbers on a chart can never convey the richness of information the actual experience of listening can deliver to our ears.

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Sorry if I came across as blunt Shaun.

To be brutally honest, I'm weary of a lifetime of assinine and glib people being quite condescending of one of my interests - "I don't understand/can't be bothered with all that electronics crap" is something I've heard once too often. There seems to be this thing about belittling people who have interests that don't fit with the (IMO)vacuous norm.

Your post came across as "I have no idea about this, nor have I any intention of finding out." and it dit hit a bit of a nerve. Also as sodbury says I'm midway though designing an amp and it's by no means plain sailing.

If you want to know how difficult it is to amplify a signal, then there are a lot of resources that will offer far more detail than I could ever hope to understand. Every component in the signal path will introduce some distortion to the signal. by Distortion I mean a deviation of the signal from it's original waveform. Even different brands of resistor and capacitor in the signal path can change the presentation of the sound. Most Solid state amplifiers operate in push-pull mode and there is a distortion introduced when the signal swaps from one polarity to the other.

I mean it's a total minefield, and without some knowledge of electronics and electrical and mechanical properties and principles, it's going to be very difficult to explain in much detail

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Thats cool man, no worries, I didn't mean to snub the whole process or anything, its just something I'm very interested in and have a lot of appreciation for, never assumed it was easy of course.

Thanks for your explanation it makes a lot of sense to me. From the perspective of being an IT bod and seeing what an amplifier does on the functional level, I merely wondered how so many people claim to have the best approach to what I saw as essentially making a signal louder.

I now understand better that its actually not easy at all and no wonder there are so many different approaches.

Thanks for the clarification :)

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