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
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
Stable into load is not the same as linear into load.

Here are two amps recently measured at Stereophile:




Most amps are not flat into 100 kHz and don't need to be, so I don't think that is the point. The point is that folks can buy very high-performance electronics but poor performing speakers, regardless of the cost.

Here is a link to Dr. Toole's system:

For some reason, he chose 400 WPC Mark Levinson No.536 mono-block power amplifiers. These mono-blocks list for a measly $15,000 each :p
Obviously, he pays some attention to the amplifier.

- Rich
Looks more like an Auro-3D set up instead Dolby Atmos:D
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
The point is, he absolutely applies DBT and then he demonstrates why they are important. It really doesn't matter if you are testing speakers, cable, DAC's or amps. Sighted listening test are colored with bias, that's what he is showing in his test.
You’re preaching to the choir.

The point is, you can conduct a million DBT’s, but the nonbelievers in DBT will never believe.

This Amp-argument is on a perpetual loop. You’re not changing their minds. You’re not the first one to try. :D

If you want to buy an EMO amp, so be it. If they want to buy other brands of amps, so be it.

You think your EMO amp sounds good to you, and they think their amps sound good to them.

This Amp-argument is on a perpetual loop. You’re not changing their minds. You’re not the first one to try. :D

This Amp-argument is on a perpetual loop. You’re not changing their minds. You’re not the first one to try. :D

This Amp-argument is on a perpetual loop. You’re not changing their minds. You’re not the first one to try. :D

Hmm, that’s strange. This feels like deja vu. :D
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
He might just like how they looks of them.

If you conducted a DBT of, for example, a 2-channel $900 Emotiva amp vs $9000 ML and you couldn't tell the difference using your own choice of speakers, why other would you purchase the 9K ML amp? It would have to be for a purpose other than audio. Over the decades we have find out that the aforementioned is usually the outcome.
Or he's just like me, one who does not need amps for "better" sound quality purposes, but bought them anyway (for other reasons), one after another, and another......and then I lost count, but must have at least half a dozen still hooked up somewhere in the house:D. He's just much richer than me so if I spent 15 K on amps, he probably would, or had already spent 150 K on them.
 
K

Kleinst

Audioholic Intern
Or he's just like me, one who does not need amps for "better" sound quality purposes, but bought them anyway (for other reasons), one after another, and another......and then I lost count, but must have at least half a dozen still hooked up somewhere in the house:D. He's just much richer than me so if I spent 15 K on amps, he probably would, or had already spent 150 K on them.
I’m with you, I have a few setups and each have separate AMPs run with AVRs and I keep looking to buy AMPs. Can you please talk me out of wasting so much time on this?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I’m with you, I have a few setups and each have separate AMPs run with AVRs and I keep looking to buy AMPs. Can you please talk me out of wasting so much time on this?
Sorry, I have tried that on myself, and helped/forced by my wife, but still.......:( At least I no longer get disappointed any more each time after I hooked up my new amp or dac, because as I said I no longer buy them for different sound quality. I admitted, more than once on this forum that I was so surprised when I compared the AVR-X3400H to my separates, only because I couldn't imagine even such a "low end" AVR could still sound the same. In fact, almost immediately I hooked my Umik-1 mic to plot some graphs just to see what/if there is something going on. I know it isn't my hearing because I could still hear differences between my speakers easily, just for example.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I’m with you, I have a few setups and each have separate AMPs run with AVRs and I keep looking to buy AMPs. Can you please talk me out of wasting so much time on this?
A few setups each with Amps + AVR?

Well, TLS Guy would say you should have used Amps + AVP/pre-pro “separates”, not AVR. :D

Have you ever used Amps + separates AVP (not that there would be a difference in SQ)?
 
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
A few setups each with Amps + AVR?

Well, TLS Guy would say you should have used Amps + AVP/pre-pro “separates”, not AVR. :D

Have you ever used separates AVP + AVR (not that there would be a difference in SQ)?
Quad amps, how dare you! :p
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Quad amps, how dare you! :p
Oh yeah, old Quad amps made in UK and Marantz AVP. :D

Wait, the previous years Marantz AVP 7000 series were made in - excuse me - China? Current 7000s are made in Vietnam? And the 8000 series are made in Japan? Neither one are made in the UK! :D

They don’t have any UK AVP’s?
 
K

Kleinst

Audioholic Intern
A few setups each with Amps + AVR?

Well, TLS Guy would say you should have used Amps + AVP/pre-pro “separates”, not AVR. :D

Have you ever used separates AVP + AVR (not that there would be a difference in SQ)?
No never had a AVP. I know I might be missing something but the idea of paying WAY more for something that seems to have similar if not the same Processing technology as It’s related AVR isn’t appealing to me. (My AVRs are not flagship Models but are pretty good models) My thinking is that I get a quality processor in The AVR plus a good 7-9 channels as backup Amps in the AVR should I choose to use them. More options that way. I bought AIRCOM units for each of the AVRs I have so they run cool and have no regrets making those investments. It’s nice knowing they won’t get hot . I have to use RCAs from the pre outs but I don’t thing the floor noise is too bad. plus again if my AMP dies I have a good AVR I coupls use anyways.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
No never had a AVP. I know I might be missing something but the idea of paying WAY more for something that seems to have similar if not the same Processing technology as It’s related AVR isn’t appealing to me. (My AVRs are not flagship Models but are pretty good models) My thinking is that I get a quality processor in The AVR plus a good 7-9 channels as backup Amps in the AVR should I choose to use them. More options that way. I bought AIRCOM units for each of the AVRs I have so they run cool and have no regrets making those investments. It’s nice knowing they won’t get hot . I have to use RCAs from the pre outs but I don’t thing the floor noise is too bad. plus again if my AMP dies I have a good AVR I coupls use anyways.
I am with you on this, conceptually and even practically speaking, and I bet ADTG would agree with you too. He might have been just being sarcastic, when quoting TLSG.:D But for sure, he likes to recommend the CX-A AVCs, I want one too if I have extra (real extra) cash on hand. I don't need more amps, but I still want more, you got the idea right..
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
I am with you on this, conceptually and even practically speaking, and I bet ADTG would agree with you too. He might have been just being sarcastic, when quoting TLSG.:D But for sure, he likes to recommend the CX-A AVCs, I want one too if I have extra (real extra) cash on hand. I don't need more amps, but I still want more, you got the idea right..
That's the problem. I want amps, but do I need amps? Nope. Still want them though. :)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
That's the problem. I want amps, but do I need amps? Nope. Still want them though. :)
Actually, it the same for DAC, turntable, and speakers for sure. The problem with speakers is, no more room to put them even if I had the extra money.:confused:
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I am with you on this, conceptually and even practically speaking, and I bet ADTG would agree with you too. He might have been just being sarcastic, when quoting TLSG.:D But for sure, he likes to recommend the CX-A AVCs, I want one too if I have extra (real extra) cash on hand. I don't need more amps, but I still want more, you got the idea right..
You know I don’t think AVPs at any price sound better than AVRs. :D

My thinking is that if people want to really SAVE money, why even buy an external amp for EACH AVR?

Why not just simply use the AVR by itself and save money ?

Most of these AVR will work just fine by themselves. No need to even spend money on an amp for each AVR.

The amps inside the Denon X3000s and X4000s and Yamaha A1000s and A2000s are just fine IMO.

If I’m going the “separates“ route, I might as well go all separates. None of that “half calories“ diet. :D

That’s how my mind works. :D
 
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AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
No never had a AVP. I know I might be missing something but the idea of paying WAY more for something that seems to have similar if not the same Processing technology as It’s related AVR isn’t appealing to me. (My AVRs are not flagship Models but are pretty good models) My thinking is that I get a quality processor in The AVR plus a good 7-9 channels as backup Amps in the AVR should I choose to use them. More options that way. I bought AIRCOM units for each of the AVRs I have so they run cool and have no regrets making those investments. It’s nice knowing they won’t get hot . I have to use RCAs from the pre outs but I don’t thing the floor noise is too bad. plus again if my AMP dies I have a good AVR I coupls use anyways.
Just out of curiosity, is $1500 for a Yamaha or Marantz Pre-pro “WAY more”?

It is a lot more than a Denon X3000s or X4000s on sale. But I’m just curious. :D
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
Blind Audio Test |Devastated Audiophiles - A $12000 vs $500 System Result? NO DIFFERENCE!
 
K

Kleinst

Audioholic Intern
Just out of curiosity, is $1500 for a Yamaha or Marantz Pre-pro “WAY more”?

It is a lot more than a Denon X3000s or X4000s on sale. But I’m just curious. :D
Well not WAY more over a long period of time. I missed out on a steal someone got on EBay for a Marantz AV7704. but I have a Marantz SR6013 it would have replaced even if I had of seen it in time. When I looked at the details I couldn’t see that the 7704 looked much different than the 6013 other than 6013 has AMPs I’m not presently using. Wish I knew how much better the AV sounds but not sure I’m willing to spend 1500 used to find out its largely the same... now if I could find a steal on one I’d do it just for fun.

But seriously what could I expect if I were to get a Yamaha or Marantz pre pro, I’m interested to learn from someone who has had one and a comparable AVR of the same brand
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
But seriously what could I expect if I were to get a Yamaha or Marantz pre pro,
If you are referring to the so called "sound quality", the simple answer/truth is, nothing. Nothing that is audible, but definitely "seeable'. So yes you can expect better "sound quality" immediately if you use your eyes/brains.:D
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
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.
I would have looked into the driver- most folded horns are designed to produce low frequencies, but not the range used in modern home theaters. They're also more efficient, so the amp isn't usually driven as hard in order to achieve the high SPL needed for live/outdoor/large venue applications. Is it possible that the driver(s) were 4 Ohm and wired parallel, rather than two drivers with 8 Ohm voice voils?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
If you are referring to the so called "sound quality", the simple answer/truth is, nothing. Nothing that is audible, but definitely "seeable'. So yes you can expect better "sound quality" immediately if you use your eyes/brains.:D
"I could see that model sounding better than the other one".o_O
 

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