Do all amplifiers sound the same?

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
It is something of a pointless argument or discuss because like cable and a range of other hot-button topics, it never can and never will be resolved.

Steve/bluewizard

Steve, stop being rational and reasonable, this isn't the thread for that.

I don't agree with everything you've said, especially around the differences, but I get the gist of what you're saying. Ultimately it is, of course down to what you like. Always has been and always will be. I just get riled at manufacturers and reviewers when they start peddling utter lies in their marketing and reviews. It's the audio quackery and claims that certain things make a difference when they provably don't.

I do agree with your last statement though and that's because it's the exact same situation as with religion. This high end rubbish is a belief system and people don't like their beliefs challenged and will defend them even in the face of overwhelming evidence. It's something to make an otherwise dull Friday in work go faster though. ;)

G
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
I think we need to be a bit clearer on the definition of amplifier.

Do we mean an integrated amplifier, including all of the pre-amps and DAC's or do we mean a power amplifier?

My experience, based on having 30+ different pieces of electronics going through my room over the last couple of years, trying to build a system that sounds fantastic for both movies and music, without requiring a second mortgage is...

Power amps - sound the same, as long as they are not introducing noise, and working within their tolerance (eg not clipping).

DACs and pre-amps - sound very different, in terms of instrument and voice separation, placement of instruments and voices, and how much bass is evident, how much treble is evident (warm / bright).

Then of course, the big difference in how things sound are the speakers, the room, the quality of the source and EQ / room correction.

Check this out and do your own testing

Pick A Preamp |

In that office, once the files were loudness matched, none of the professional sound journalists (of which I'm sure many were musicians and had years of experience) could tell the difference.

It's a very small sample but it's indicative of the same trend shown in power amps were there are far greater numbers of tests. If, in blind testing the suggestion is you can't really tell the difference then why pay more for the same sound (assuming sound is the only criteria for choosing one over another)?

G
 

larkone

Member
Check this out and do your own testing

Pick A Preamp |

In that office, once the files were loudness matched, none of the professional sound journalists (of which I'm sure many were musicians and had years of experience) could tell the difference.

It's a very small sample but it's indicative of the same trend shown in power amps were there are far greater numbers of tests. If, in blind testing the suggestion is you can't really tell the difference then why pay more for the same sound (assuming sound is the only criteria for choosing one over another)?

G
People will always say there is a difference because of expectation bias - they spent a stupid amount of money on an 'upgrade' based on spurious claims by the manufacturer, usually based on the FUD factor, how could they possibly admit that it makes no difference and it was a waste of money.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Just a thought on #27 link - all of the kit tested was for studio use and therefore designed to have as little effect on the audio signal as possible.

If we are now talking consumer Hifi then each brand has an interest in creating a "house" signature by adding in distortion, tone etc. (even when in direct mode) into their preamp designs (either separate or integrated) to distinguish themselves from the competition which is what people hear as differences IMO. It is then down to personal ear/brain learning that distinguishes whether it is something they like or not.

A per my post #3, I back to back tested a 1980's NAD preamp, 2000's Rotel AV Processor (in direct 2 channel mode) and a studio passive preamp - all with the same power amps and speakers and DB(A) volume matched using an pink noise signature from the same source. The NAD with all controls set to neutral had extra energy in the bass and reduced treble giving rise to what would normally be called a warm sound, the rotel had more treble energy and sounded brighter and the passive preamp was the most balanced sound between bass and treble (and my favourite subjectively). These findings were confirmed when I carried out sound frequency measurements and looked at the spectrum shapes.

However, I agree that if you use an equiliser/filter either analogue or digital and you make all of the preamp signals flat then they would all sound the same.
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
If the amp has enough power , if the amp is not distorting, if the amp is competently designed, if the amp is set to a point with no clipping, etc... then for sure there will be no difference, that is undeniably true.

However for most , who will spend around 500 max on a feature packed multifunction device like a receiver, amps are not the same , because most in this price bracket will have a very small window where all these “ ifs” are true and it wont be at a level that is commonly used.

For most non technical folks entering the market the perception will be that for sure all amps sound different , because at those price brackets competently designed non distorting amps are a rare Gem.

Never underestimate the lengths that the mass market manufacturer will go too to maximise profit.
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
For most non technical folks entering the market the perception will be that for sure all amps sound different , because at those price brackets competently designed non distorting amps are a rare Gem.

Never underestimate the lengths that the mass market manufacturer will go too to maximise profit.

I broadly agree but I'd argue you have to be REALLY pushing even low end amps these days to get to that point, especially in power amps. Even low end AVR's can push out huge outputs in comparison to years ago and without audio artifacts. Also if you're in the market for the really low end AVR's (£4-500) that are likely to become power limited then you're likely going to be matching them with lower end, less demanding speakers so the problem doesn't really happen. But I've never claimed that if you have an underpowered amp for your application and push it over its limits that you're not going to get something that sounds horrible. But that's not a facet of the amp it's appropriate power for the application. Analogous to using a 1l Punto to pull your 4 berth caravan - you CAN do it but it's just not something you're going to do.

As I said previously though, looking at something like a Behringer NX6000 are you suggesting that something like that couldn't pump enough power into a pair of even the most demanding speakers without really touching the sides?

G
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Just a thought on #27 link - all of the kit tested was for studio use and therefore designed to have as little effect on the audio signal as possible.

If we are now talking consumer Hifi then each brand has an interest in creating a "house" signature by adding in distortion, tone etc. (even when in direct mode) into their preamp designs (either separate or integrated) to distinguish themselves from the competition which is what people hear as differences IMO. It is then down to personal ear/brain learning that distinguishes whether it is something they like or not.

A per my post #3, I back to back tested a 1980's NAD preamp, 2000's Rotel AV Processor (in direct 2 channel mode) and a studio passive preamp - all with the same power amps and speakers and DB(A) volume matched using an pink noise signature from the same source. The NAD with all controls set to neutral had extra energy in the bass and reduced treble giving rise to what would normally be called a warm sound, the rotel had more treble energy and sounded brighter and the passive preamp was the most balanced sound between bass and treble (and my favourite subjectively). These findings were confirmed when I carried out sound frequency measurements and looked at the spectrum shapes.

However, I agree that if you use an equiliser/filter either analogue or digital and you make all of the preamp signals flat then they would all sound the same.
I think this is a bit dying trend and if we talk amplifiers the trend is toward neutral output. I am thinking of the likes of Yamaha and Denon who as you say in the past boosted the treble have far more neutral these days

Evan speakers are more natural than in the past. The B&W house sound of the past has gone with newer driver materials.

In the context post 27, cables did not tend to have a house signature.
 

Abacus

Banned
There are 2 simple questions that need answering.

1. Does changing amplifiers, cables DACs etc. change the sound? And answer is yes. (A simple blind test proves this)

2. Can the differences heard be measured? Absolutely yes, and anyone that claims otherwise (Because of this magic fairy dust) is just kidding themselves. (Providing you are measuring the correct parameter of course)

A classic con used by cable manufactures when swapping cables at demos, is making sure that the cable they are comparing it with has a higher resistance then their own so that there is a very small increase in volume when they swap to their cable, now as everyone who went to school knows, the ear is sensitive to volume, (The lower the volume the less sensitive to bass & treble the ear is, and vice versa) which is why one cable sounds different (Were only talking small differences mind you) to the other, however match the volumes and there is no difference at all.

Another case in point is what is real, I remember a simple test done on The Gadget show with students, an original sound file was converted into various formats (FLAC, mp3 etc.) and then played back to the students, but can you guess which file they preferred? To put you out of your misery it was the mp3, (With the original and lossless formats coming below it) which just shows how personal preferences can alter the expected results and why you should never rely on measurements or subjective reviews alone, as you can’t measure personal preferences.

All of this brings me back to my original post, forget what the measurement and subjectivist say, just go with something you like the sound of, as there is no right or wrong, (Black or white) it’s just your personal preference. (Multiple shades of grey)

Bill
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
Even low end AVR's can push out huge outputs in comparison to years ago and without audio artifacts. Also if you're in the market for the really low end AVR's (£4-500) that are likely to become power limited then you're likely going to be matching them with lower end, less demanding speakers so the problem doesn't really happen.

Dont agree at all, many big name brands ( and I would love to name and shame) , are truly brutal.
Its not surprising because when you subtract profit margin, licensing costs + cost of feature circuitry you are down to less than 20 quid per channel build cost.
Also those in the market for such entry level items most likely dont have a clue about speaker matching so problems are much more likely.
Bottom line, differences will exist and auditioning for likeability will be a huge factor.

As I said previously though, looking at something like a Behringer NX6000 are you suggesting that something like that couldn't pump enough power into a pair of even the most demanding speakers without really touching the sides?

The likes of the Beringer are usually bought by people who know what they are looking for.
In the context of this thread title, “ do all amplifiers sound the same?” Lets not cherry pick good performers.

These days “ amp “ to most is a generic term covering everything from soundbars to full blown Atmos setups, and we would be doing the casual buyer of home entertainment setups a massive dis-service by kidding them on that it doesnt matter what amp you buy.

It most definitely does, and you definitely need to have a listen first given that its usually not possible to shop with an oscilloscope and frequency generator for testing.
 

Lord Essex

Active Member
Wow I wish I knew everything sounds the same. I could have purchased a pa amp for £500 to power my linn 242 speakers instead of the £7500 spent on my linn klimax twin. But the truth is they don’t and anyone who says they do obviously haven’t listened to a high end well put together and balanced set up or maybe their hearing is just not very good.

But seriously think about what you’re saying. If it all sounds the same then anyone who spends more than £500 on a power amp is a mug/stupid/fool etc. The problem with this is I don’t know any mugs, fools, idiots etc who can afford the best of Naim/Linn/Chord etc. The people who can are generally successful professional people and believe me when I say that anyone who is in the lucky position to be able to buy the best don’t make ill advised rushed decision, they do their research, take their time and most importantly listen to what is available and only then make the decision that is best for them and if the £500 amp sounded the same that’s what they would buy but they don’t.

Also do you really think that long established well regarded companies like Linn, Naim, Chord could survive if all they are doing is selling stuff that sounds the same as everyone else but is just in a nice fancy case. I don’t think so
 
Last edited:

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Check this out and do your own testing

Pick A Preamp |

In that office, once the files were loudness matched, none of the professional sound journalists (of which I'm sure many were musicians and had years of experience) could tell the difference.

It's a very small sample but it's indicative of the same trend shown in power amps were there are far greater numbers of tests. If, in blind testing the suggestion is you can't really tell the difference then why pay more for the same sound (assuming sound is the only criteria for choosing one over another)?

G
Aren't mic pre-amps different to the pre-amp sections in hifi and home cinema equipment? I thought they act more as a power amp (voltage boosting)?

I can definitely hear a difference between hifi / AVR pre-amps in my room. A while ago, I set up some blind testing with a Denon AVR, and compared it to a Musical Fidelity integrated amp for music. The sound was very different. Same experience when comparing DACs.

So, although I agree with you that all power amps sound the same, unless they are faulty or clipping. I disagree that all pre-amplifiers and DACs sound the same.

However, much respect for taking on such a controversial subject and sticking to your guns ;):):smashin:
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
There are 2 simple questions that need answering.

1. Does changing amplifiers, cables DACs etc. change the sound? And answer is yes. (A simple blind test proves this)

2. Can the differences heard be measured? Absolutely yes, and anyone that claims otherwise (Because of this magic fairy dust) is just kidding themselves. (Providing you are measuring the correct parameter of course)

A classic con used by cable manufactures when swapping cables at demos, is making sure that the cable they are comparing it with has a higher resistance then their own so that there is a very small increase in volume when they swap to their cable, now as everyone who went to school knows, the ear is sensitive to volume, (The lower the volume the less sensitive to bass & treble the ear is, and vice versa) which is why one cable sounds different (Were only talking small differences mind you) to the other, however match the volumes and there is no difference at all.

Another case in point is what is real, I remember a simple test done on The Gadget show with students, an original sound file was converted into various formats (FLAC, mp3 etc.) and then played back to the students, but can you guess which file they preferred? To put you out of your misery it was the mp3, (With the original and lossless formats coming below it) which just shows how personal preferences can alter the expected results and why you should never rely on measurements or subjective reviews alone, as you can’t measure personal preferences.

All of this brings me back to my original post, forget what the measurement and subjectivist say, just go with something you like the sound of, as there is no right or wrong, (Black or white) it’s just your personal preference. (Multiple shades of grey)

Bill


So first of all, show me a single double blind loudness balanced test that has ever been conducted that shows that there is a detectable difference between any two or more of those items. I've looked and I can't find them. So far in all my research, in all the testing ever conducted where the results have been published or discussed there has never been a single result I have found that corroborates your assertion. I am very keen to see one though.

What is the "correct parameter"? Audio is complex but it has been extensively studied and is very well understood. While minute differences can often be detected not only between amps of different manufacturers but also the same manufacturers no one has proven that the differences can be heard. On the contrary there are endless tests showing that these minute differences CAN'T be heard.

Why do you think manufacturers resorted to those kinds of tricks and cons? As you rightly say without resorting to cheating there actually was no difference so it contradicts your point 1 (or are you going to suggest that "some" cables make a difference, just not those ones over there)

Personal preference is king but it's not that easy. Your personal preferences are swayed by your beliefs. I "believe" this £5000 amp is better than that £300 amp ergo it is. Isn't it a lot healthier to understand that "Both these amps sound exactly the same so I'm going to buy this £300 one". You get exactly the same sound and save yourself £4700.

G
 

muljao

Well-known Member
All I know is that I had 2 very highly rated/reviewed amps in different rooms. I found I didn't enjoy music from one of them if I listened for more than about a half hour (and I could generally listen for two or three hour periods). I swapped amps around to sort of check if it was room or speakers and ended up just realizing that I didn't enjoy one of the amps.

This was quite annoying because the one I didn't like was very well suited to position and astetic where it was.

So, in my opinion, all amps do not sound the same
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
Dont agree at all, many big name brands ( and I would love to name and shame) , are truly brutal.
Its not surprising because when you subtract profit margin, licensing costs + cost of feature circuitry you are down to less than 20 quid per channel build cost.
Also those in the market for such entry level items most likely dont have a clue about speaker matching so problems are much more likely.
Bottom line, differences will exist and auditioning for likeability will be a huge factor.

The likes of the Beringer are usually bought by people who know what they are looking for.
In the context of this thread title, “ do all amplifiers sound the same?” Lets not cherry pick good performers.

These days “ amp “ to most is a generic term covering everything from soundbars to full blown Atmos setups, and we would be doing the casual buyer of home entertainment setups a massive dis-service by kidding them on that it doesnt matter what amp you buy.

It most definitely does, and you definitely need to have a listen first given that its usually not possible to shop with an oscilloscope and frequency generator for testing.

Now you're trying to suggest that the ignorance of the buyer mandates that (s)he must test devices for "preference" because it's the only way they can buy the right item to fit into their system? Yet, they also don't know what they're listening to, STILL have no idea what is appropriate for their setup and so, guess what, they turn to the likes of you and I (well ok hifi salesmen or internet forums)for advice.

So you have an industry geared up to upsell where price = quality of sound and hoodwink/bamboozle/lie to customers to convince them that they need to spend £xxx to get the "best" sound. The manufacturers, the sales channels and the press are responsible for this, not the end users. It's a scam.

Manufacturers build great looking devices that purport to do something different which is then espoused by a press whose very survival is predicated on the advertising those very same manufacturers procure. This then goes to the stores who sell it who get fantastic margins on the high end kit and then onto the end user. The end user is rarely skilled to understand what's what so they believe the chain (sales>press>manufacturer) and spend vast sums of money. Once that's done the buyer will defend their purchase regardless of everything because no one want's to believe they've got duped. Theres one I see a bit further up in this very thread.

To be very clear here, if you're choosing an amp for the features (I'm looking for high output, Dolby xxxxx, Dirac etc.) then that is definitely a differentiating and value consideration. If on the other hand you're buying a power amp (or even pre amp in most cases) because it's supposed to "sound better" than some other amp then you're wasting your money.

G
 

Lord Essex

Active Member
So first of all, show me a single double blind loudness balanced test that has ever been conducted that shows that there is a detectable difference between any two or more of those items. I've looked and I can't find them. So far in all my research, in all the testing ever conducted where the results have been published or discussed there has never been a single result I have found that corroborates your assertion. I am very keen to see one though.

What is the "correct parameter"? Audio is complex but it has been extensively studied and is very well understood. While minute differences can often be detected not only between amps of different manufacturers but also the same manufacturers no one has proven that the differences can be heard. On the contrary there are endless tests showing that these minute differences CAN'T be heard.

Why do you think manufacturers resorted to those kinds of tricks and cons? As you rightly say without resorting to cheating there actually was no difference so it contradicts your point 1 (or are you going to suggest that "some" cables make a difference, just not those ones over there)

Personal preference is king but it's not that easy. Your personal preferences are swayed by your beliefs. I "believe" this £5000 amp is better than that £300 amp ergo it is. Isn't it a lot healthier to understand that "Both these amps sound exactly the same so I'm going to buy this £300 one". You get exactly the same sound and save yourself £4700.

G

You really are doing a disservice to this forum continuing this rubbish that all amps sound the same.

Using your logic all hi fi manufacturers in the world should end their R&D now and give the money to charity after all if it all sounds the same what’s the point in developing new products. Don’t you realise how stupid that sounds
 
Last edited:

Educated Guess

Well-known Member
Well this has turned out to be interesting. TIL all ever thought about hi-fi was just a sham.
xxGBHxx makes for a convincing argument though and I'm not going to dismiss it without giving it some thought although the witch hunt has already begun.
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
Wow I wish I knew everything sounds the same. I could have purchased a pa amp for £500 to power my linn 242 speakers instead of the £7500 spent on my linn klimax twin. But the truth is they don’t and anyone who says they do obviously haven’t listened to a high end well put together and balanced set up or maybe their hearing is just not very good.

But seriously think about what you’re saying. If it all sounds the same then anyone who spends more than £500 on a power amp is a mug/stupid/fool etc. The problem with this is I don’t know any mugs, fools, idiots etc who can afford the best of Naim/Linn/Chord etc. The people who can are generally successful professional people and believe me when I say that anyone who is in the lucky position to be able to buy the best don’t make ill advised rushed decision, they do their research, take their time and most importantly listen to what is available and only then make the decision that is best for them and if the £500 amp sounded the same that’s what they would buy but they don’t.

Also do you really think that long established well regarded companies like Linn, Naim, Chord could survive if all they are doing is selling stuff that sounds the same as everyone else but is just in a nice fancy case. I don’t think so

Even intelligent and otherwise rational people make bad decisions (voting Brexit, voting Trump, watching Big Brother the list goes on). I don't know why you have to take it personally as it's nothing personal. I never called any end user a mug, stupid or a fool, you did. I am saying that they are misguided and are lied to through an industry propaganda machine geared up and structured to convince people to part with ridiculous amounts of money for palcebo.

I appreciate your belief doesn't allow you to consider this to be the case but the truth is that they do technically sound exactly the same. It's not really open for debate any more and has been proven in multiple double blind loudness matched tests. Tests conducted with industry "golden ears", veterans, sound engineers, musicians, journalists and enthusiasts. No one, not a single one, can tell two amps apart or two cables apart in any test once you remove confirmation bias and other such outside influences. Hundreds of tests that do not exclude confirmation bias or tester influence have shown there is a difference but years of cognitive study and neuroscience tells us that it's effectively all in your head.

I appreciate you are 100% sure you do hear a difference and I can be confident that in your head, you can. But that's the reality here, it's in your head and is not due to your amps or cables. What you are hearing is confirmation bias and placebo. It is incredibly powerful and will absolutely cause you to hear this wonderful sound. I even have no doubts your system IS wonderful but it's a sound you could replicate exactly by replacing your amp and cables with any number of alternatives that would be a LOT cheaper.

So allow me to hazard a guess (and please correct me) what your research consisted of:
  • Having demo amps at home to listen to
  • Going to trade shows and open days
  • Listening to amps in shop listening rooms
  • Reading reviews in the press and online
  • Reading forums and listening to other "audiophiles" who already have the amps in question, already demo'd them or want to buy them
  • Talking to retailers and shop owners
  • Reading the specs on manufacturer websites
Now let me guess what your research didn't consist of

  • Double blind matched loudness testing against any other amp
  • Reading and understanding other double blind loudness matches testing of cables and amps
  • Researching and looking for any peer reviewed scientific studies that add any credence to any manufacturers claims
  • Testing any low end PA amp in your system which had enough power to drive the system
  • Testing and comparing any low end cables without going in with the attitude "these will be rubbish"
Naturally you will have almost definitely done every single one of the items in the first list but likewise I'd suggest you didn't do many if any from the second list. Now that doesn't make you stupid or a fool, it just makes you the same as most people. You justify spending £7500 by convincing yourself it is VFM or worth it by focusing on and immersing yourself in everything that confirms that. We all do that (me included) but sometimes we need to ask ourselves "Hang on, do these raving lunatics telling me I could have saved £7000 and got the same sound have a point".

I liken this bit of the audio industry to that of a cult or a religion because like a cult or religion it is based on faith and not science. Now there are billions of believers in religion, many I call friends and many who are very intelligent. But being intelligent doesn't necessarily mean that there is some intangible being in the sky, that the world was made 6000 years ago or that theres some magic etherial "stuff" that magically ignores science and causes amps and cables to sound different.

G
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
I’m assuming you’re taking about me being duped for buying an expensive amp. If that’s the case I’ve obviously wasted years getting a bachelors from Cambridge and during the 2 years I spent as a lecturer at M.I.T I must have been talking rubbish and conned all my students.

I've just provided a lengthy response to your other post but if you are so intelligent (and I don't doubt it) then why are you twisting what I say into some personal slight against you or your intelligence? Since when does being intelligent (and I could quote my credentials but it's a little crass if you ask me) mean you can't and don't make questionable decisions sometimes or are you suggesting you know it all and never make mistakes? That's a little arrogant don't you think?

I'm happy to have a discussion with you and debate the relative merits of the argument but it would help if you didn't try to twist it into me saying you're stupid because I'm not. There are, however endless historical examples of incredibly intelligent people either being conned or making questionable decisions or choices. That doesn't make them stupid or dumb, it makes them human.

G
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
Well this has turned out to be interesting. TIL all ever thought about hi-fi was just a sham.
xxGBHxx makes for a convincing argument though and I'm not going to dismiss it without giving it some thought although the witch hunt has already begun.

Don't feel bad, the industry and most of the players (and some buyers!) are experts in propaganda and as skeptical as I tend to be even I get sucked into the whole thing at times. Best advice is to do your own research from both angles and then draw your own conclusions. As I've said a few times it's not my money you're spending so as long as you're happy with what you've spent that's all that matters ultimately.

G
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've only ever sat and listened to one truly high end amp and speaker combination and that was a Rega Osiris mated to those big B&W speakers that look like an oil barrel. Even though it was in a dealers showroom it sounded awesome. Playing vinyl I've heard nothing like it before or since.

If all amps sound the same then why did I, against my pre audition thoughts, plump for the amp that I thought would be there just to make up the numbers. A complete difference between the two, a Naim XS2 and a Rega Elicit-R. It was the huge smile that the Rega put on my face that swung it. It has cost me more in the long run even though it was £400 cheaper than the Naim as I've had to buy a stand alone headphone amp. If both amps had sounded the same I would still be in the audition room trying to make up my mind.

I've two CD players that have identical DACs but there's a significant difference in sound quality even when playing through the same amp, the three times more expensive one winning out. That's not down to the DAC it must be down to how the analogue side of the machine is made, components used and signal pathway, the more expensive having the best.

If I won the lottery (I've a sure fire way of increasing my changes by 100%. Buy a ticket) I'd just have to give a truly high end set up a go. The audition would be much the same, the winner would be the one that put the biggest smile on my face.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
For completeness can I ask @xxGBHxx to provide links to some peer reviewed paper that support his arguement (quoted many times) so that we can all understand the issues being discussed here. This is an honest request as I am willing to read, digest and learn (and even then experiment myself) and not an attemp to credit/discredit any one view or another.
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
Aren't mic pre-amps different to the pre-amp sections in hifi and home cinema equipment? I thought they act more as a power amp (voltage boosting)?

I can definitely hear a difference between hifi / AVR pre-amps in my room. A while ago, I set up some blind testing with a Denon AVR, and compared it to a Musical Fidelity integrated amp for music. The sound was very different. Same experience when comparing DACs.

So, although I agree with you that all power amps sound the same, unless they are faulty or clipping. I disagree that all pre-amplifiers and DACs sound the same.

However, much respect for taking on such a controversial subject and sticking to your guns ;):):smashin:

It's a good question and one I honestly cant answer. Gut reaction is it's all bull ;) Joking aside I couldn't find any other consumer grade pre-amp blind tests. Doesn't mean they don't exist of course but more likely means my hasty Google skills failed me.

I can't say this enough though. You can't put any faith in the differences you heard (and I'm not suggesting you didn't hear a difference) especially the reasons for them. You've taken a difference and you've immediately jumped to "it was caused by changing the pre-amp/amp/DAC". This is why double blind level matched tests are so important. Even a Db or two difference in level could have made a massive difference in what you heard. If you moved your head a few inches from it's original position. If you believed there was a difference. All of those could have just as likely caused you to (genuinely) hear a difference but none of them were down to the change of component and some didn't actually exist at all.

I only stick to my guns until someone can show me scientific proof of another theory being correct. More than that, sometimes you just feel like having a bit of a rumble ;)

Cheers

G
 

meduk1

Active Member
Interesting thread. I was certainly in the camp of amps not making a difference until I wanted to purchase a new high end stereo amp (£1k-ish) for my system. I auditioned two side by side in a demo room and found the sound produced completely different. Was really night and day different, one was certainly above the other. This wasn't me trying to convince myself to get the 'better one' as I was auditioning 2 amps that were decent brands, same price points etc - I had no bias going in of which one I'd prefer.

Now to xxGBHxx's list above, I did all the things in the top list but not the second, however I believed (and still do) that the amp sounded different, and one made a much more pleasurable listening experience.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Q Acoustics Q3030i, Humax Aura, Roku Streambar & WandaVision Reviews and more...

Latest News

KEF announces KC62 subwoofer with new Uni-Core technology
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 20th January 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Netflix passes 200 million subscribers to end 2020
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Cyrus Audio announces soundBuds2 in-ear headphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Audio Research launches Reference 80S power amplifier
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom