Can you hear a difference in Sound between Audio Amplifiers?

Do Amplifiers Sound Different?

  • Yes

    Votes: 101 62.3%
  • No

    Votes: 45 27.8%
  • crikets crickets....What?

    Votes: 16 9.9%

  • Total voters
    162
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Im curious if the people who voted yes actually arrived at their conclusion using blind controlled listening tests.
I voted yes because I've heard an amp not be up to the task at hand. It was just a subwoofer (pro audio), but when we changed out amps me and the other sale guy looked at each other in shock because we didn't expect the sub to perform so much better. That told us that the amp we had in use couldn't handle the load the folded horn sub was demanding of it, even though its spec sheet said it could.

So, they do sound different if a speaker demands more than the amp can provide.

Now, would two amps sound different if they BOTH could easily drive the speaker? I have no idea, but I'd lean toward no. I'd love to participate in a test to see if I did in fact hear a difference. Would be a neat exercise.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Field Marshall
Wow... Well, so much for having a decent discussion. Reading your posts clearly shows you are more on a mission to stroke your ego than anything else.


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Sorry you feel that way but I guess when a certain few got their britches in a bind over the word 'synergy' I perhaps got a little defensive. Regardless, I wasn't making an argument, just siting an example to which some labeled electrostatic speakers goofy or some such nonsense. The mere fact that they didn't fit into the 'norm' around here is just another indication of some of the 'myopic' thinking here. My apologies if I've used the word myopic incorrectly .............
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Sorry you feel that way but I guess when a certain few got their britches in a bind over the word 'synergy' I perhaps got a little defensive. Regardless, I wasn't making an argument, just siting an example to which some labeled electrostatic speakers goofy or some such nonsense. The mere fact that they didn't fit into the 'norm' around here is just another indication of some of the 'myopic' thinking here. My apologies if I've used the word myopic incorrectly .............
What an awesome display of passive aggressive behavior... an apology packaged in insults, bravo. lol

I don't have a dog in the fight at all, but reading the last few pages I get the feeling that it's beneath you to explain what you mean to us short-sighted thinkers. You're pretty dismissive and smug about it, and I don't think you're talking about the same thing we are.

Electrostats are goofy speakers that present goofy loads which require special amplification. That doesn't mean anyone thinks they sound bad. Either way I don't think it's really in the spirit of the subject of whether amps sound the same tho, and bringing it up is a bit of a strawman.

You don't seem like a horrible person and I think you might even be able to engage in constructive conversation if you lose some of the haughty attitude.
 
ATLAudio

ATLAudio

Senior Audioholic
Well, everyone is biased about something. Like I hate subs and speakers with internal amps. :D

And not everything needs a DBT test. Why? Because it's not THAT important at the end of the day - not important like medical/ drug studies - such as human studies for this COVID-19 vaccine.

For audio/video, people will recommend and swear by whatever they've had the most success with.
Good point, we are all biased, and how well that bias is controlled determines its impact in a comparison experiment. DBT is the gold standard in that regard.

However with amps, a complete performance benchmark, which isn’t a listening comparison, can reveal audible performance. If the goal is fidelity from the source, that is an empirical measurement, not an experiment to find comparative preference. So it’s not so much need of DBT because of its grand importance to society, but it’s actually necessity.

In most cases, fidelity from the source to the speaker terminals need to be difficult, nor expensive. But expertise of build and cost will matter to some extent.


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ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
I've done carefully level matched single blind comparisons...nobody could identify one amp from the other. That was using conventional amps that were linear, with low distortion, low output impedance (despite what the Doc says, virtually all amps, or at least conventional ss a/b types, have output impedance of a tiny fraction of an ohm), and kept well within their safe operating limits. When those qualifiers are violated is when audible differences manifest themselves.

So you think the new owners messed up the amp now? :D
They applied some cost cutting that inappropriately applied conventional thinking to Walker's innovative design. The old ones that were made in England perform as intended. The new company's interest seems more business oriented: milk the legacy while watering down the product. We've seen that before.
What measurement would be reliable to determine that this issue doesn’t happen?
Oh, Peter Aczel's power cube measurements would sffice.

I think this whole topic indicates where, historically, from a pure performance point of view, divorcing amplification from speakers as products was a mistake. Commercially it wasn't a mistake, to be sure, but it sheds light on the reality that what should really be a design choice of engineers is put onto the consumer. The dominance of passive speakers has consumers doing this engineering guesswork instead, mired in confusion that spawns threads such as these.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Field Marshall
What an awesome display of passive aggressive behavior... an apology packaged in insults, bravo. lol

I don't have a dog in the fight at all, but reading the last few pages I get the feeling that it's beneath you to explain what you mean to us short-sighted thinkers. You're pretty dismissive and smug about it, and I don't think you're talking about the same thing we are.

Electrostats are goofy speakers that present goofy loads which require special amplification. That doesn't mean anyone thinks they sound bad. Either way I don't think it's really in the spirit of the subject of whether amps sound the same tho, and bringing it up is a bit of a strawman.

You don't seem like a horrible person and I think you might even be able to engage in constructive conversation if you lose some of the haughty attitude.
LOL, attitude ....... attitude, look in the mirror young man. While you can call stats goofy, you obviously know very little about them, so much for your attitude !
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I think electrostatic speakers are the goofiest speakers out there. They're so goofy because of all the goofiness required to even play them, and if it's true that you need goofy expensive cables to make them sound decent then that just makes them even goofier (in my humble opinion).

I'll stick with speakers that still sound great but aren't so goofy. My apologies if I used the word "goofy" incorrectly......
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
1590695632529.jpeg


It probably works, but Goofy.

The thing is an expensive audiophile store would charge an obscene amount for this.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
View attachment 36511

It probably works, but Goofy.

The thing is an expensive audiophile store would charge an obscene amount for this.
I've thought about something like that for work. In fact I've used disposable plastic cups for a horn a few times and it does work well. I never tried cryogenically treating the cup first for maximum performance tho...
 
ATLAudio

ATLAudio

Senior Audioholic
I've done carefully level matched single blind comparisons...nobody could identify one amp from the other. That was using conventional amps that were linear, with low distortion, low output impedance (despite what the Doc says, virtually all amps, or at least conventional ss a/b types, have output impedance of a tiny fraction of an ohm), and kept well within their safe operating limits. When those qualifiers are violated is when audible differences manifest themselves.


They applied some cost cutting that inappropriately applied conventional thinking to Walker's innovative design. The old ones that were made in England perform as intended. The new company's interest seems more business oriented: milk the legacy while watering down the product. We've seen that before.

Oh, Peter Aczel's power cube measurements would sffice.

I think this whole topic indicates where, historically, from a pure performance point of view, divorcing amplification from speakers as products was a mistake. Commercially it wasn't a mistake, to be sure, but it sheds light on the reality that what should really be a design choice of engineers is put onto the consumer. The dominance of passive speakers has consumers doing this engineering guesswork instead, mired in confusion that spawns threads such as these.
I certainly agree that in a perfect world speakers would be active, or at the least there be more active available, and they wouldn’t be shunned by those who claim to care about accuracy in reproduction.

Good point about the Aczel power cube measurements as well. At the end of the day even electrostatic speakers are not some mystery either. But again, when the choice of amp is to not be over driven, that’s more of an empirical choice, not flavor or system synergy matching with is audiophool foo foo nonsense.


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ATLAudio

ATLAudio

Senior Audioholic
I think electrostatic speakers are the goofiest speakers out there. They're so goofy because of all the goofiness required to even play them, and if it's true that you need goofy expensive cables to make them sound decent then that just makes them even goofier (in my humble opinion).

I'll stick with speakers that still sound great but aren't so goofy. My apologies if I used the word "goofy" incorrectly......
I don’t totally disagree, but if I was to pick my five favorite speakers, a set of electrostats would be on my list. That said, I’m sure any decent power amp, like your Monolith would be fine.


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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I don’t totally disagree, but if I was to pick my five favorite speakers, a set of electrostats would be on my list. That said, I’m sure any decent power amp, like your Monolith would be fine.
I had the privelege of listening to a pair of Magnepans that were a foot taller than I am and was pretty blown away. They sound incredible, I do agree.

Even if they are goofy, lol.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Field Marshall
I think electrostatic speakers are the goofiest speakers out there. They're so goofy because of all the goofiness required to even play them, and if it's true that you need goofy expensive cables to make them sound decent then that just makes them even goofier (in my humble opinion).

I'll stick with speakers that still sound great but aren't so goofy. My apologies if I used the word "goofy" incorrectly......
all's good, not at all goofy but down right 'myopic' ......... LOL, I couldn't resist.

On a serious note, it's quite apparent that you have never heard what 'stats' can do, so as I said in the thread about 'best' listening rooms, https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/the-best-listening-rooms-youve-ever-heard.118181/ , done correctly there's nothing goofy about the music they can produce. One more thing, no where did I state that you need 'goofy expensive' cables, YOU made that up !
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
Well, everyone is biased about something. Like I hate subs and speakers with internal amps. :D

And not everything needs a DBT test. Why? Because it's not THAT important at the end of the day - not important like medical/ drug studies - such as human studies for this COVID-19 vaccine.

For audio/video, people will recommend and swear by whatever they've had the most success with.
How do you eliminate bias without DBT when trying to compare audio components?
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
Correct me if I'm wrong, but for some reason I remember you having a different opinion about this. Have you recently changed your mind? This isn't a call out or anything, quite the opposite. It tells me that you don't reject evidence or the scientific process and are willing to see both sides of an argument, and that you're willing to change your view based on available evidence.

A lot of folks can't get past their own preconceptions (right or wrong) so they tend to be close minded to alternative thinking or new ideas.
I don't know what gave you that impression. I believe in science over belief and over any unverifiable, unsubstantiated claims. Since we all have biases, logic dictates that we must have a means of controlling them as to not allow them corrupt any comparison of audio components. Double Blind Test provides us with a means of controlling biases, so again, DBT are a must!
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
How do you eliminate bias without DBT when trying to compare audio components?
You don’t, but the bias is not going to kill anyone either.

DBT is good. But ultimately it’s about the end-user preferring the sound, not about other people preferring the sound in a DBT.

IOW, even with DBT, can anyone guarantee that YOU will agree with the conclusion of the DBT?
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Audioholic
IOW, even with DBT, can anyone guarantee that YOU will agree with the conclusion of the DBT?
So True! And what someone prefers today may change tomorrow when they listen to another album. I think it's hard to find a single setup that sounds superior with every piece of recorded material. All you can do is pick out a varied group of your favorites and spend the time thoughtfully comparing. :D
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
You don’t, but the bias is not going to kill anyone either.

DBT is good. But ultimately it’s about the end-user preferring the sound, not about other people preferring the sound in a DBT.

IOW, even with DBT, can anyone guarantee that YOU will agree with the conclusion of the DBT?
I look at a DBT more as a way to prove a theory, substantiate claims or confirm biases. I'd say they're largely useless for discerning personal preferences.
 

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