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a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

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  • #16
    Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

    Originally posted by Pallas View Post
    Possible, but unlikely unless one of them is really current-limited.



    You are assuming that there is a difference in sound. Most of the time, that assumption is false. And when there is a difference in amp "sound," it is usually easy to explain. The most common cause of "sonic differences" in amps is mismatched levels.
    You're talking about amp AB or ABX tests. Useless. The ear doesn't have enough time to re-aquire the target upon switching, unless you're comparing an SET to a good SS amp, where there is a large enough differential.

    With amps that aren't obviously inferior, it usually takes months to get to know it, and that's after a reasonable break-in period.

    Old debate, I know. I'm convinced there is a genetic element involved. Some people can't here the difference between good, properly functioning amps while others can. And the sheer weight of numbers of guys who can suggests something's going on.

    I can't tell the difference between Navy blue and black socks, but my wife hasn't a problem.

    Meaurements should tell the story, but again - the sheer weight of numbers.
    Dave

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    • #17
      Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

      Originally posted by contoursvt View Post
      Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?
      It depends on whether you are an 'audiophile' or not. The more 'audiophile' beliefs you hold the more value an 'audiophile' amp will have for you.

      In blind tests and with amplifiers operating within their limits it takes a pretty poor amplifier (e.g. a SET valve amplifier) to be audibly distinguishable. This is not the case in sighted tests because sound perception involves more than the sound field impinging on the ear. Again, the more 'audiophile' beliefs you hold the more likely you are to 'know' that 'audiophile' amplifiers sound better and for your perception to follow this to a fair degree.

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      • #18
        Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

        Originally posted by Interlochen2 View Post
        You're talking about amp AB or ABX tests. Useless. The ear doesn't have enough time to re-aquire the target upon switching, unless you're comparing an SET to a good SS amp, where there is a large enough differential.

        With amps that aren't obviously inferior, it usually takes months to get to know it, and that's after a reasonable break-in period.

        Old debate, I know. I'm convinced there is a genetic element involved. Some people can't here the difference between good, properly functioning amps while others can. And the sheer weight of numbers of guys who can suggests something's going on.

        I can't tell the difference between Navy blue and black socks, but my wife hasn't a problem.

        Meaurements should tell the story, but again - the sheer weight of numbers.
        Dave
        Out of the Crowns, Adcoms, Parasound, Behringer, Emotiva, NAD and finally Classe that I have either owned (the first four) or extended listening (the last three) I would say don't bother worrying about it.

        MONTHS and MONTHS? Really? I've seen murder investigations take less time to find the culprit. Sorry any thing that takes you 90 days either is not worth bothering about or falls in the domain of the psychological. It certainly doesn't fall into the night/day category that I have seen alluded to.

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        • #19
          Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

          Originally posted by andy19191 View Post
          It depends on whether you are an 'audiophile' or not. The more 'audiophile' beliefs you hold the more value an 'audiophile' amp will have for you.

          In blind tests and with amplifiers operating within their limits it takes a pretty poor amplifier (e.g. a SET valve amplifier) to be audibly distinguishable. This is not the case in sighted tests because sound perception involves more than the sound field impinging on the ear. Again, the more 'audiophile' beliefs you hold the more likely you are to 'know' that 'audiophile' amplifiers sound better and for your perception to follow this to a fair degree.
          Why is an audiophile such a ugly word here? If you actually look up the definition, probably everyone here is an audiophile.

          I can't find any dictionary description of the word that suggest an audiophile has a set standard of "beliefs" or that they "know" that "audiophile" amplifiers sound better.

          Another description of an audiophile is the love of sound.

          I am an "audiophile" and I built the most budget good system I could.

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          • #20
            Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

            So does no one here have any McIntosh equipment? Are they still flying solo? Not part of the Harman group?

            Are they really good, or over priced? Just curious more then anything, but I don't think I've ever read about anyone comparing anything to them.

            I do think that for the most part, if you have a quality amp, you are set to go. If you can get a upgrade of some sort, the increase will be small and probably not worth the extra grand+ to get a 2.3% increase.

            As far as amps not being different from each other under short term test, I side with the group that thinks it can't be picked out that quickly. I don't have a collection of amps to play around with. I'm more of a "it's good it works use it" kind of guy. Still, for those who do have more range of equipment to play with, I think some people can pick out a legitimate reason why they might like one amp over another and have a favorite.

            Example. The Behringer A500 has been measured to have distortion on some of them if the volume is not turned all the way up. It seems to be a random problem. That amp has been used in a double blind test. Was the one used working 100% optimal, or could people not hear a fine distortion in a short about of time?

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            • #21
              Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

              Originally posted by jinjuku View Post
              Out of the Crowns, Adcoms, Parasound, Behringer, Emotiva, NAD and finally Classe that I have either owned (the first four) or extended listening (the last three) I would say don't bother worrying about it.

              MONTHS and MONTHS? Really? I've seen murder investigations take less time to find the culprit. Sorry any thing that takes you 90 days either is not worth bothering about or falls in the domain of the psychological. It certainly doesn't fall into the night/day category that I have seen alluded to.
              What kind of music do you listen to, and how loud. Your age, I may ask?
              -----------------------

              A startling, glaring example of differences between otherwise excellent amps occurred when I tried the Monarchy SE-160 and 250 hybrid monoblocks. They are absolutely delicious: tonally, spatially, you name it. EXCEPT - Bass weight. It was simply the wimpiest I've heard. My laymen wife commented on it without prompting. In the end, I chose to live with the XR-10 mentioned before. Much more typical, in fact excellent bass control. ....

              Now, speaking of the XR-10. It is an example of an amp I chose to keep and live with -- for months and months. I guess it took about 2 to realize that it had sort of a grayish cast to the sound. That's when I pulled out the Hafler 220, made it into monoblocks, and installed Musical Concepts PA-3D mods with Blackgate electrolytics PSU caps. Quite superior to any other cap I'd heard up til that point.

              I eventually replaced the BGs (for sale, btw) with Jensen Quad-poles which are better, but the improvment is subtle.


              Refinement to the Nth degree is what I pursue - just my taste, mostly jazz. But I can Rock with my Antique Sansui shop receiver without complaint. I desparately fear accusations of snobbery, elitism, and worst of all -- Audiophilism. So I threw that in there, but it's true.

              Oh yes, glaring differences: Have you heard the Behringer A500? Ghastly. I use a pair bridged to feed my subs 500 W, but as a mains amp, I's rather shave my head with a cheese grater. OTOH, I've heard a few fine pro amps. No prob there, would buy one without hesitation. Think I may have heard that Crown you mentioned and was impressed.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                Originally posted by generic View Post
                Example. The Behringer A500 has been measured to have distortion on some of them if the volume is not turned all the way up. It seems to be a random problem. That amp has been used in a double blind test. Was the one used working 100% optimal, or could people not hear a fine distortion in a short about of time?
                It's design flaw in the potentiometer as you swept the gain knob through 1-3 o'clock position.. One that doesn't exhibit itself if you don't have it in said position.

                So it is more than reasonable that they had an A500 with the errata but with the gain knob in the 4 or 5 o'clock position is a non-issue for the testing they did.

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                • #23
                  Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                  Originally posted by generic View Post
                  Why is an audiophile such a ugly word here? If you actually look up the definition, probably everyone here is an audiophile.

                  I can't find any dictionary description of the word that suggest an audiophile has a set standard of "beliefs" or that they "know" that "audiophile" amplifiers sound better.

                  Another description of an audiophile is the love of sound.

                  I am an "audiophile" and I built the most budget good system I could.
                  'Audiophile' is the word the OP used to describe 'audiophile' amplifiers and seems to have been understood by most people here. Examples of some of the beliefs that distinguish 'audiophiles' from others:

                  http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf

                  Audiophile is the word that people that hold these types of belief tend to use to describe themselves and the hardware that has been manufactured for their consumption over the last 35 years or so. Consequently, those that hold the more orthodox scientific view of how sound, sound perception and audio equipment works often use it to distinguish hardware targeted at audiophiles from hardware that is not.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                    Originally posted by Interlochen2 View Post
                    What kind of music do you listen to, and how loud. Your age, I may ask?
                    -----------------------

                    A startling, glaring example of differences between otherwise excellent amps occurred when I tried the Monarchy SE-160 and 250 hybrid monoblocks. They are absolutely delicious: tonally, spatially, you name it. EXCEPT - Bass weight. It was simply the wimpiest I've heard. My laymen wife commented on it without prompting. In the end, I chose to live with the XR-10 mentioned before. Much more typical, in fact excellent bass control. ....
                    My first setup in 87 was Crown DC300a/DC150A/IC150A/ AR 7's and some bass bins with Eminence 12" drivers and a Crown X-Over. I was 15 then. So what is your age? My hearing in my right ear gives out at ~17.2 Khz, left ear is ~16.8. I don't have any dropout under that.

                    Honestly I would say you have a problem with the Monarchy based on your description. If I want EQ I will put an EQ in place.

                    Back then I also had a Carver M400. Compared to the DC300A, well it didn't stay around long. Sold it with some of the Audio Technica 10" down firing cubes (forget the actual model #) to a friend for dirt cheap. The M400 died about 3 years after. The DC300A still hits factory spec, but not what it did in '87.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                      Originally posted by generic View Post
                      Why is an audiophile such a ugly word here?
                      Perhaps there has been ( and will always be ) a divide between those who DIY and those who have unlimited disposable capital.
                      For many it a belief that quality always costs and spending more guarantees it and it comes with bragging rights ( how much they paid and indicates level of sophistication ).
                      The Diyer feels they waste money, because of the gigantic price tags and willingness to spent money ( questionably ) on obtuse refinement.
                      Audio-elitists ( drawing a distinction from an audiophile ) can become adamant about the way it should be done.
                      There is often condescension towards DIY - often a belief that their work will be inferior to commercial offerings.
                      "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                      “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                      "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                        Originally posted by Sydney View Post
                        Perhaps there has been ( and will always be ) a divide between those who DIY and those who have unlimited disposable capital.
                        For many it a belief that quality always costs and spending more guarantees it and it comes with bragging rights ( how much they paid and indicates level of sophistication ).
                        The Diyer feels they waste money, because of the gigantic price tags and willingness to spent money ( questionably ) on obtuse refinement.
                        Audio-elitists ( drawing a distinction from an audiophile ) can become adamant about the way it should be done.
                        There is often condescension towards DIY - often a belief that their work will be inferior to commercial offerings.
                        An audiophile likes to brag about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

                        A DIY'er likes to brag how little they spent and how good it sounds.

                        :D:p:D

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                          Originally posted by andy19191 View Post
                          'Audiophile' is the word the OP used to describe 'audiophile' amplifiers and seems to have been understood by most people here. Examples of some of the beliefs that distinguish 'audiophiles' from others:

                          http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf

                          Audiophile is the word that people that hold these types of belief tend to use to describe themselves and the hardware that has been manufactured for their consumption over the last 35 years or so. Consequently, those that hold the more orthodox scientific view of how sound, sound perception and audio equipment works often use it to distinguish hardware targeted at audiophiles from hardware that is not.
                          I've read that link before. I did a word search, just to make sure, but the word audiophile wasn't actually used in that article.

                          Magazines, advertizements, and maybe even some manufactures describe themselves as selling or having audiophile grade equipment. While most probably actually deliver on a very good quality piece of equipment, cheaper options are available like Crown, Emotiva, etc.

                          Aside from audio forums, I've never really seen the word audiophile used in a negative way, aside from a few snake oil products that use audiophile in advertisement. At the end of the day, audiophile doesn't = sucker. Sometimes when people buy expensive gear, they get beautiful well thought out equipment that borderlines art. Sometimes, maybe even hand built, or polished. While most of us here only care about sound quality, folks who have more cash to spare might want something that looks as good as it sounds. I have a ugly black brick for a amp because I could only afford the sound. When it comes time to replace my current system, maybe in 10 years or so, I hope I can afford something that looks nice too.

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                          • #28
                            Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                            Originally posted by jinjuku View Post
                            An audiophile likes to brag about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

                            A DIY'er likes to brag how little they spent and how good it sounds.

                            :D:p:D
                            Well If you substitute audio-elitist for audiophile I'm with ya :D
                            For some folks music is just insignificant ( I got a boom box ).
                            And guys who want to ego stroke ( My latest acquisition is the greatest ).
                            And those who insist on a certain path to someones else's road to audio satisfaction.
                            Of course there are others domains that get elite - gourmands for instance
                            "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                            “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                            "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                              Originally posted by generic View Post
                              So does no one here have any McIntosh equipment? Are they still flying solo? Not part of the Harman group?
                              They're now part of D&M Holdings.
                              "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

                              http://www.diy-ny.com/

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: a bit OT. Is an 'audiophile' amp a waste of money?

                                Originally posted by Sydney View Post
                                Perhaps there has been ( and will always be ) a divide between those who DIY and those who have unlimited disposable capital.
                                For many it a belief that quality always costs and spending more guarantees it and it comes with bragging rights ( how much they paid and indicates level of sophistication ).
                                The Diyer feels they waste money, because of the gigantic price tags and willingness to spent money ( questionably ) on obtuse refinement.
                                Audio-elitists ( drawing a distinction from an audiophile ) can become adamant about the way it should be done.
                                There is often condescension towards DIY - often a belief that their work will be inferior to commercial offerings.
                                Perhaps there isn't that much a divide...

                                DIY speakers are cheap only if you don't put a dollar amount to the labor that went into them.

                                Buying a pre-made speaker of the same quality can be very expensive because your paying for someone else to do the labor, their overhead, profits, etc.

                                But in a way, the end result is the same speaker. Both approaches recognize that significant resources, be they monetary or calories burned, are required for great speakers.

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