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kernow

'All amps sound the same'

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No worries. Also the speakers' electrical properties might have a bearing on how the amplifier performs... there are so many variables involved.

As for amplifier topology there are lots of different options. One that is highly favoured is Single Ended Valves. even with the 300B ( one of the most popular) the way it is powered (voltage and current) can change the sound as well.

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I presume amps sound the same in comparison tests when they are level matched and tone controls are set to the null '0' setting. If tone controls are adjusted then obviously amps can be made to sound different to one another.

I presume when the tone controls are at their null settings then the amps give a flat response across their frequency range. However is it manufacturers stated intent that when at null the response should be flat or do they 'voice' amps to give slightly more or less bass and treble when at null? If so then the amps would not sound the same in comparison when level matched with all the settings at null.

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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?

All Quad transistor amps sound the blinkin' same, the 303 is just the same as the 99.

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montesquieu wrote:

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.

Tom,

I think the problem with a non-technical approach is that one gives human or emotional properties to acompletely non-emotional, mathematically precise pice of equipment. Because circuits are different and loudspeakers are different, there's no reason why this should have any effect on the sound if the results of those circuits and into those loads are the same,which in the majority of cases, they are. Richness of information is something that you perceive with your brain and with your emotions, it's not something an amplifier has any knowledge of. An amplifier just puts out a damn-near perfect larger version of what goes in regardless of what that is. Any amplifier that doesn't do that, like for example a SET amplifier, isn't "competently designed" by the standards of today, where damn-near perfect performance is commonplace.

S.

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kennyk wrote:

No worries. Also the speakers' electrical properties might have a bearing on how the amplifier performs... there are so many variables involved.

As for amplifier topology there are lots of different options. One that is highly favoured is Single Ended Valves. even with the 300B ( one of the most popular) the way it is powered (voltage and current) can change the sound as well.

It may be favoured by some, but not if you want accuracy and therefore High Fidelity to the source. SETs has very serious technical problems, mostly to do with noise, distortion and very limited power and current delivery capabilities that give them a sound some like, but is hardly accurate.

Peter Walker's maxim about all competently designed amplifiers sounding the same clearly doesn't include a genus of amplifiers that are so badly flawed tecnically.

S,

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It Cost How Much!?! 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

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?

All Quad transistor amps sound the blinkin' same, the 303 is just the same as the 99.

Personal opinion or fact? It makes me wonder why they'd release new models in that case, but I guess any business has to to make money, kinda makes sense why people still want the Quad II or whatever though 50 years later.

Why improve on the 303's design in that case if its just going to sound the same anyway ;-)

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Guest sq225917

They don't all sound the same for the following reasons.

1. No amps of different topologies actually measure the same. They might give you similar headline figures with differences below 'accepted' human perceptibility but dig a little deeper and you will find differences in phase response, the spread of harmonic distortion and a whole host of other things that just aren't measured when a hifi mag reviews gear.

2. No one actually listens at levels where there is no break up or clipping of any kind, not unless all you listen to is late night jazzclub with 1000 watts up your arse.

I agree with the general concept, that all well designed amps, of similar topology, should sound the same when used within their limits.

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sq225917 wrote:

They don't all sound the same for the following reasons.

1. No amps of different topologies actually measure the same. They might give you similar headline figures with differences below 'accepted' human perceptibility but dig a little deeper and you will find differences in phase response, the spread of harmonic distortion and a whole host of other things that just aren't measured when a hifi mag reviews gear.

2. No one actually listens at levels where there is no break up or clipping of any kind, not unless all you listen to is late night jazzclub with 1000 watts up your arse.

I agree with the general concept, that all well designed amps, of similar topology, should sound the same when used within their limits.

1) That's true, but if the figures all all sufficiently low, then it doesn't matter if different. There's no audible difference between an amp with 0.01% THD and another with 0.005% whatever the harmonic makeup of the THD. Ditto with all other differences. If small enough they don't matter.

2)As to power levels, I accept that it depends at what levels you listen to, and of course what efficiency of loudspeakers you use. However, if amp power is chosen correctly, then clipping should be avoided. Note also, that very brief clippingis generally inaudible if the amplifier has been well designed and has fast recovery from clipping. Of course not all do.

S.

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kernow wrote:

It Cost How Much!?! 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

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?

All Quad transistor amps sound the blinkin' same, the 303 is just the same as the 99.

Personal opinion or fact? It makes me wonder why they'd release new models in that case, but I guess any business has to to make money, kinda makes sense why people still want the Quad II or whatever though 50 years later.

Why improve on the 303's design in that case if its just going to sound the same anyway ;-)

I have owned, 303, 405, 306 and 606 and they all sounded very much the same tonally. A sightly warm veiled sound with squashed dynamics and reduced image size. I have heard 909 and it's the same. I currently have a 34/306/FM4 set-up as a 3rd system.

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wee tam wrote:

if they all sound the same :shock:

why do some people think my amp is cheap jap shit :?

Well Tommy at the rish of stating the obvious, that's because it is cheap Jap stuff. I have not heard it so I can't qualify it's quality. I am sure it's lovely.:roll:

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Oh dear, I am going out as fast as I came in.

Someone will be saying that IPA and Abbot taste the same next. (they are not btw)

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ob1 wrote:

Oh dear, I am going out as fast as I came in.

Someone will be saying that IPA and Abbot taste the same next. (they are not btw)

Gin & Tonic for me or maybe Magners Cider or if I am in the mood Southern Comfort & orange juice. Abbot ale tastes of piss in my view, Robinsons is so much better.

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SergeAuckland wrote:

kennyk wrote:
No worries. Also the speakers' electrical properties might have a bearing on how the amplifier performs... there are so many variables involved.

As for amplifier topology there are lots of different options. One that is highly favoured is Single Ended Valves. even with the 300B ( one of the most popular) the way it is powered (voltage and current) can change the sound as well.

It may be favoured by some, but not if you want accuracy and therefore High Fidelity to the source. SETs has very serious technical problems, mostly to do with noise, distortion and very limited power and current delivery capabilities that give them a sound some like, but is hardly accurate.

Peter Walker's maxim about all competently designed amplifiers sounding the same clearly doesn't include a genus of amplifiers that are so badly flawed tecnically.

S,

Serge, I never mentioned anything about accuracy. I picked the 300B for my example because it's a popular choice and said so.

I'm of the opinon that any amp that requires feedback in order to work is more fundamentally technically flawed than one that doesn't.

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I used to take the late Peter Walkers words very seriously. I remember him (may have been Ross Walker?) saying that the 606 amp was really built for the American market where they demanded more watts on principal and was unnecessary for the then current ESL63.

With that in mind I visited a hifi shop near Croydon to buy a 306 power amp. The assistant told me that they also had a second-hand 606 amp for about the same price. Needless to say I quoted Mr Walker. The assistant smiled and said "well why not compare them". So I did using a pair of ESL63's. The difference was not at all subtle. With the higher powered 606 the music was so much more realistic, in a way that could not be replicated using the 306, even with higher volume.

It would have been interesting to compare the combined measurements of the equipment at the listening position to correlate subjective response to some objective data, but by no means necessary as at home we listen with our ears.

Needless to say I came away with the 606, and saved a few quid in the process.

Talking about any piece of hifi in isolation, without considering what it is connected to strikes me as folly. With the enormous number of permutations of kit, is it surprising that so little consensus is reached when considering individual pieces of kit?

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