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

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

    I don't know how to measure that. If I get goosebumps when listening, I assume it's good. If my ears start to hurt, I assume that it is bad. So much of this is truly subjective, which is why some guys like certain speakers and some guys like others. There are many things that I consider silly, but some claim that they have great effect. Amp Racks that make an amplifier perform better, special stones that when placed upon the top of your speaker "lift the veil". I think that stuff is silly, but I don't discount it out of hand.

    A good example - I read an advertisement for cable/wire lifts. This guy was using Myrtle wood to hold his speaker wire and patch cables up off the ground. He used many interesting adjectives to describe the results...of which I thought was a load of hooey. However, I had a bunch of hickory cutoffs that with very little effort I could duplicate his lifts. So I made some, didn't cost me but a few minutes of time. I tried it out and ...... nothing. No change whatsoever. However, I realized that I wasn't using the same wood, so I still don't know with 100% certainty that they don't work. It sure was fun to try it out, and I have since re-engineered the wood lifts to act as wire management devices. Still hasn't changed the sound, but it does make it easier for me to swap out speakers and it keeps my wires organized and looking nice.

    WayneW

    Comment


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

      Originally posted by GranteedEV View Post
      ".....which amplifier does the least to the signal" rather than trying to find the amplifier that has the most pleasant coloration to counteract problems with your speakers, which I take issue to as I kind of feel it's a waste of time for most people......".
      Why, if the goal is enjoyment?

      Comment


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

        Originally posted by maynardg View Post
        Why, if the goal is enjoyment?
        I can't truly speak for others but i suppose I just assume they're sane - but I think or expect I would enjoy (myself) at least, a lot more, listening to music on well integrated accutons, raals, and acoustic elegances in a custom CAD designed listening room, off a marantz SR6004 surround receiver and some monoprice cables, and decent hybrid active / air core/ poly crossover components, than I would enjoy myself listening to the same amount of money worth and time spent, auditioning, in amps, cables, preamps, CD players, cable risers, capacitors, inductors, resistors, drivers, some narrow band absorption panels thrown on the wall, DACs, AC outlets, and power conditioners?

        I guess I think 95% of the sound is in the speakers and the room, so it's "funnest" to try to get that 95% of the sound first??

        And if the time ever came to chase that last 5%, I'd want it to be transparent so that the sound I chased from the beginning, however it might be (personal preference) isn't being changed?
        :blues: Flat frequency response, a smooth sound power response free of resonance, careful driver-integration, and high dynamic range both upward and downward :blues:

        Comment


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

          Originally posted by waynew View Post
          The Musical Fidelity had more bass impact and more sparkle in the highs. The Arcam had less bass impact, more relaxed highs but a wonderful, liquid midrange. The midrange just seemed to jump out with the Arcam. I really enjoyed it. Ideally, I could harness both the bass/treble of the MF and combine it with the midrange of the Arcam and I would be a happy guy.
          Well . . . the obvious solution is to use the Musical Fidelity on the woofer and the Arcam on the midrange driver :D . . . what to do to get "sparkle" from the tweeter being open to experiment, since it could be a lot of things causing it . . .
          "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

          Comment


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

            Originally posted by waynew View Post
            This is an interesting thread, flaming aside. I would like to offer up a few opinions and maybe a few facts.

            1. I have been involved in the voicing of several speakers; The JCW's (the W is for my last name), the Statements, The Tritrix, The Mavericks, The Exclamations, The AviaTrix, The Cinderellas, The Scrappy's, The Singularities and the Stentorians. I enjoyed all of them.

            2. My reference speakers have Accuton and Hiquphon drivers and boutique caps. They cost a lot. They sound very good and I enjoy them greatly.
            Having heard the Statements, I can say that they are very well executed within that paradigm, but do not align with my tastes for a couple reasons. Likewise, I cannot conceive of a speaker made from Accuton and Hiquphon drivers that would be good enough for me...

            Originally posted by waynew View Post
            5. Upon comparing a Musical Fidelity to an Arcam, I believe that I heard a significant difference, and upon trading opinions with Curt, we both had the same opinions as to what we heard (no leading, no guiding). It was an enjoyable experience.
            Did you match levels? If not, it is not surprising that two people might have consistent comments about an actual sonic difference (mismatched levels).

            Originally posted by generic View Post
            I'd agree to a point. I think modern day starter stuff is nicer then it was 10 years ago. I was rather surprised how nice a refurbished Marantz NR1501 was when I installed for a family member. It was a noticeable upgrade from a starter Onkyo. In all fairness, it could have been the room EQ that made it all better, but for under $300, its a nice unit.
            The difference was likely entirely in the room EQ.

            Different methods of doing room EQ (and different mic placements for runs, etc.) lead to different transfer functions, which in turn lead to actual sonic differences.

            Originally posted by waynew View Post
            I don't know how to measure that. If I get goosebumps when listening, I assume it's good. If my ears start to hurt, I assume that it is bad.
            The word for that is often simply "diffraction"...

            Originally posted by waynew View Post
            There are many things that I consider silly, but some claim that they have great effect. Amp Racks that make an amplifier perform better, special stones that when placed upon the top of your speaker "lift the veil". I think that stuff is silly, but I don't discount it out of hand.
            Why not?

            Originally posted by waynew View Post
            A good example - I read an advertisement for cable/wire lifts. This guy was using Myrtle wood to hold his speaker wire and patch cables up off the ground. He used many interesting adjectives to describe the results...of which I thought was a load of hooey. However, I had a bunch of hickory cutoffs that with very little effort I could duplicate his lifts. So I made some, didn't cost me but a few minutes of time. I tried it out and ...... nothing. No change whatsoever. However, I realized that I wasn't using the same wood, so I still don't know with 100% certainty that they don't work.
            Um, yes you do. Saying otherwise is like saying that you think evolution is right, but it's "just" a theory.

            But people enjoy different things, as you write. From my perspective, I can't imagine much in audio that would be more tedious than listening to some to see if there's a sonic difference from hoisting wires off the ground. Then again, I listen to music, not gear.
            --
            "Based on my library and laboratory research, I have concluded, as have others, that the best measures of speaker quality are frequency response and dispersion pattern. I have not found any credible research showing that most of the differences we hear among loudspeakers cannot be explained by examining these two variables." -Alvin Foster, 22 BAS Speaker 2 (May, 1999)

            Comment


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

              Originally posted by GranteedEV View Post
              I can't truly speak for others but i suppose I just assume they're sane - but I think or expect I would enjoy (myself) at least, a lot more, listening to music on well integrated accutons, raals, and acoustic elegances in a custom CAD designed listening room, off a marantz SR6004 surround receiver and some monoprice cables, and decent air core/ poly crossover components, than I would enjoy myself listening to the same amount of money worth and time spent, auditioning, in amps, cables, preamps, CD players, cable risers, capacitors, inductors, resistors, speakers, some narrow band absorption panels thrown on the wall, DACs, outlets.

              I guess I think 95% of the sound is in the speakers and the room, so it's "funnest" to try to get that 95% of the sound first and actually live with it?
              You bring up a good point, but let us confuse the issue further. How do you know that you are hearing what the artist(s) intended you to hear? The only true way to compare would be to have Allison Krauss come to your house and sing something while at the same time record it and play it back simultaneously to make sure that all of your gear is reproducing exactly what she puts out. Somewhat problematic, I know. I don't have Allison on speed dial, heck we aren't even facebook friends. But let me posit this: The hobby we all participate in (as do Audiophiles) is about enjoyment of music. Whether you enjoy it more through high dollar equipment or budget stuff is entirely moot. The fact that we do what we do to enjoy it is entirely the point. Thus, I won't cast aspersions on anyone if they want to build "another boring 2-way", or someone that swaps out amps, cables, or wires, or DAC's. It's about having fun, learning, and sharing. It's also about letting others have fun, learn and share. A simple thing that becomes very complicated in the translation.

              Now - I have to go catch me a Marmot. I hear that the urine of a female Marmot, when applied to speaker wires, causes the "Rythm and Pace" of and amplifier to become more evident. It also cures warts, colds, and hiccoughs. I suspect that I may not enjoy this much!

              Regards,

              WayneW

              Comment


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

                Originally posted by GranteedEV View Post
                Fair enough. I think jinjuku is kind of advocating the same thing, although he's agressive against the "amp crowd"; his experience is that many spend as much money as they do on amps, even if their speakers aren't on that "invincible" tier yet. I concur 100%. The speakers and the room are something like the first 95% towards audio nirvana, yet people treat amps as 50 to 60%. I think that's ridiculous.
                You betcha:D I always got a kick out of either someone with a pair of LSi 9's ($1K) and something like a Monarchy, Parsound Halo, Pass, Odyssey amp that cost them $2-3K.

                Add to that the same person is trying to give budgeting advice to new people. My particular favorite is a guy in ~10X12 room with RTi-A9's with a nice Pioneer Elite SC. He gets talked into a Sunfire TGA amp that probably cost as much as his speakers and receiver combined. When he can't hear the difference? The crowd suggest $400-600 in AQ cables:eek:

                That is why in these types of threads about amplification the first question that should be asked is what is your speaker selection and room setup?

                Comment


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

                  Originally posted by GranteedEV View Post
                  Among other things, crossover distortion, IMD, phase, electrical interaction with speaker reactance, input impedance, top octave frequency response (even 0.3db loss at 15khz could be audible for all I know), even classic things like clipping, and damping [...]
                  You are not measuring what was observed which was "impact", "liquidity", "sparkle" and "relaxation" in a sighted listening test by waynew. In the rather likely event that your measurements of all those indirect quantities showed that the amplifiers do not differ by an audible amount (audible in a blind test) what would be your conclusions?

                  Is loudspeaker S audibly better than loudspeaker T?:
                  http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/0...o-product.html

                  Comment


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

                    Originally posted by Pallas View Post
                    Having heard the Statements, I can say that they are very well executed within that paradigm, but do not align with my tastes for a couple reasons. Likewise, I cannot conceive of a speaker made from Accuton and Hiquphon drivers that would be good enough for me...

                    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. What driver compliment would be "good enough" for you?


                    Did you match levels? If not, it is not surprising that two people might have consistent comments about an actual sonic difference (mismatched levels).

                    Levels where matched.

                    The difference was likely entirely in the room EQ.

                    Both amps where sent to the same speakers. We used a remote control switch to go from one amp to the other. We didn't move, shift, or pee while doing the audition.

                    Different methods of doing room EQ (and different mic placements for runs, etc.) lead to different transfer functions, which in turn lead to actual sonic differences.

                    See above.

                    The word for that is often simply "diffraction"...



                    Why not?



                    Um, yes you do. Saying otherwise is like saying that you think evolution is right, but it's "just" a theory.

                    No, it's called keeping an open mind and keeping my personal opinion personal.

                    But people enjoy different things, as you write. From my perspective, I can't imagine much in audio that would be more tedious than listening to some to see if there's a sonic difference from hoisting wires off the ground. Then again, I listen to music, not gear.
                    I agree with that, and that is my goal. However, that is your opinion, and others get enjoyment through other aspects of the hobby. You are neither right or wrong.

                    Comment


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

                      Originally posted by Deward Hastings View Post
                      Well . . . the obvious solution is to use the Musical Fidelity on the woofer and the Arcam on the midrange driver :D . . . what to do to get "sparkle" from the tweeter being open to experiment, since it could be a lot of things causing it . . .
                      A very good idea, and I tried to do that. Curt wouldn't give me his Arcam, and I didn't want to move into his house to accomodate the solution. The search continues!!! Hahahaha.


                      WayneW

                      Comment


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

                        Originally posted by waynew View Post
                        I don't know how to measure that. If I get goosebumps when listening, I assume it's good. If my ears start to hurt, I assume that it is bad. So much of this is truly subjective, which is why some guys like certain speakers and some guys like others. There are many things that I consider silly, but some claim that they have great effect. Amp Racks that make an amplifier perform better, special stones that when placed upon the top of your speaker "lift the veil". I think that stuff is silly, but I don't discount it out of hand.

                        A good example - I read an advertisement for cable/wire lifts. This guy was using Myrtle wood to hold his speaker wire and patch cables up off the ground. He used many interesting adjectives to describe the results...of which I thought was a load of hooey. However, I had a bunch of hickory cutoffs that with very little effort I could duplicate his lifts. So I made some, didn't cost me but a few minutes of time. I tried it out and ...... nothing. No change whatsoever. However, I realized that I wasn't using the same wood, so I still don't know with 100% certainty that they don't work. It sure was fun to try it out, and I have since re-engineered the wood lifts to act as wire management devices. Still hasn't changed the sound, but it does make it easier for me to swap out speakers and it keeps my wires organized and looking nice.

                        WayneW
                        I think you just identified a new kind of distortion. We can call it "Bose distortion" which equates to "Amount consumer spends" + "Belief in Marketing hype" - "actual sound improvement" / 100 = "Distortion value"

                        Comment


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

                          The fact that we do what we do to enjoy it is entirely the point. Thus, I won't cast aspersions on anyone if they want to build "another boring 2-way", or someone that swaps out amps, cables, or wires, or DAC's. It's about having fun, learning, and sharing. It's also about letting others have fun, learn and share. A simple thing that becomes very complicated in the translation.
                          Do we do it to enjoy the content, or the equipment?

                          If it's to enjoy the equipment, I simply tell a person: "Do as you please."

                          If it's to further enjoy the source material, I do feel a desire to tell them, when they inevitably think adding a DAC etc is the key, that they're almost always looking at the wrong place. Obviously if you feel your speakers are unimprovable, that's different. How many people have unimprovable speakers?

                          And the scenario described below:

                          Originally posted by jinjuku View Post
                          You betcha:D I always got a kick out of either someone with a pair of LSi 9's ($1K) and something like a Monarchy, Parsound Halo, Pass, Odyssey amp that cost them $2-3K.

                          Add to that the same person is trying to give budgeting advice to new people. My particular favorite is a guy in ~10X12 room with RTi-A9's with a nice Pioneer Elite SC. He gets talked into a Sunfire TGA amp that probably cost as much as his speakers and receiver combined. When he can't hear the difference? The crowd suggest $400-600 in AQ cables:eek:
                          Just frightens me. Is this really what that guy with the Polk speakers "enjoys"???
                          :blues: Flat frequency response, a smooth sound power response free of resonance, careful driver-integration, and high dynamic range both upward and downward :blues:

                          Comment


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

                            Originally posted by domwilson View Post
                            I think you just identified a new kind of distortion. We can call it "Bose distortion" which equates to "Amount consumer spends" + "Belief in Marketing hype" - "actual sound improvement" / 100 = "Distortion value"
                            Hahaha. Nice! I suggest we rename it to Bose Sensationalism distortion and just shorten it to BS'd.


                            Still. The point remains. When something sounds good to me, I do get a physical reaction to it and I base much of my judgement for voicing speakers on that. Is it wrong? Maybe, but that's how I do it.


                            Regards,

                            WayneW

                            Comment


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

                              Originally posted by andy19191 View Post
                              You are not measuring what was observed which was "impact", "liquidity", "sparkle" and "relaxation" in a sighted listening test by waynew. In the rather likely event that your measurements of all those indirect quantities showed that the amplifiers do not differ by an audible amount (audible in a blind test) what would be your conclusions?
                              My conclusions would be, "I'm glad I think room and speakers are 95% of the sound, and since these amps "sound the same" I don't have to put much more thought into it?"????

                              see, here's the nice part. I can strive for a measurably perfect amp, and if it sounds the same, I don't care. If it sounds different, is that a bad thing? if so then the amp either wasn't measurably perfect, and I need to figure out where it measures poorly. That, or the other amp is the one that wasn't measurably perfect, and hey, the measurements I have already support that.

                              And if the perfect measuring amp in fact appears to sound worse, I figure out if perhaps it's because my speakers or room have a problem somehow being highlighted, rather than go on a hopeless quest to find the amp that sound best to my ears?

                              Is loudspeaker S audibly better than loudspeaker T?:
                              http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/0...o-product.html
                              I'm big on blind listening tests. But if there's one thing you'll learn about them, it's that companies that use them, use them to figure out where to cut costs. That's fine, but no doubt can still have unpredicted consequences. Thorough testing in all respects is necessary. Blind listening is important, but so is measuring. And if it passes the blind listening but fails the measuring, that's cool, but is there a harm in passing the blind listening and passing the measuring?

                              For example, Axiom Audio uses cheap caps and cored inductors. Their blind tests prove even seasoned listeners can't hear the difference.

                              that's cool. But do you use cored inductors when you know sufficient guage air cores measure better?

                              Yes --> Then be happy with what you have
                              No --> then you agree with me that having well-measuring parts is its own satisfaction - a sense of confidence I suppose.

                              Can I say with confidence that owning a Parasound separates amp is an audibily smart idea compared to owning a Marantz Receiver? Not really.

                              But I can say with confidence that it's a superior unit. I'm sure there's people out there with more discriminating, experienced ears than mine that would beat me in blind test difference recognition results. Maybe they can hear the difference that I can't. Or maybe they will show me a dynamic concert CD that causes the marantz to clip slightly (that I may not have recognized before) and the parasound is sailing smoothly.

                              All I care about, is what I can hear confidently, the difference in first (speakers / room), and then in things where I'm not confident, measurements to show myself I'm not making some silly mistake like a SET amp.

                              And as I stated earlier, there's more things to measure than I probably know.

                              The main thing with blind tests is that they are great! But not unlimited.
                              :blues: Flat frequency response, a smooth sound power response free of resonance, careful driver-integration, and high dynamic range both upward and downward :blues:

                              Comment


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

                                I'm almost embarrassed to say this...as I do own a lot of equipment, but I like listening, and I do mean listening, to music on a old Pioneer SX-450 receiver. It just sounds clean to me.

                                Comment

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