# How much do HiFi amps really differ?

C

#### CC

Jan 1, 1970
0
Greetings:

http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx

"The NAD is warm but not nearly as open."

Really funny. I know just what the guy means. Then a ton of additional
reviewers spew paragraph after paragraph of the same silliness.

What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is
there much difference in the sound of a $250 vs.$2500 amp with the same
"numbers?"

I suppose there might be, if there are differences in numbers not
specified. I recall a long time ago when I bought my Kyocera A-710
integrated amp, a 100W/ch 45 lbs. whopper with 60A peak current
capability (that really impressed me) that it simply mopped the floor
with a Denon component in the shop of similar power level. So naturally
I walked out with the Kyocera. Of course it listed for $1000 vs. the$600 Denon, and I only bought it because it was a display for $600. The difference in sound quality seemed apparent when listening, and before I was even told anything about it's parameters. Perhaps just the salesman's "you will find this model over here to be far superior to the Denon" suggestion conditioned me to perceive things differently? I dunno. Unfortunately, it now has problems and I'd like to replace it with something smaller, but with respectable quality and capacity for my impoverished apartment lifestyle. I've narrowed down to: NAD C325BEE 50W/ch$399 (would really be right for the wallet if it's
decent enough)
NAD C352 80W/ch $599 Rotel RA-1062 60W/ch$699 (folks just gleem over this one)
Arcam A65+ 40W/ch $699 (I just discovered this today) Nothing is nearly half as heavily built as my Kyocera. It's really crazy reading folks' reviews, with all the "color, warmth, openness, etc." Are these guys tripping or what? Good day! H #### Homer J Simpson Jan 1, 1970 0 It is done by same bunch of snobs that review wines. No, different bunch of snobs. H #### Homer J Simpson Jan 1, 1970 0 Unfortunately, it now has problems and I'd like to replace it with something smaller, but with respectable quality and capacity for my impoverished apartment lifestyle. I've narrowed down to: ... Forget it. Get a free one on http://freecycle.org/ or http://www.craigslist.org/ and buy good speakers. They are way more important than any amplifier. And don't waste any money on BS 'super' cables. Cheap speaker wire is fine. If you can't buy good speakers buy OK ones and a good woofer. http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=PDS2315-R might be a good alternative. G #### Glenn Gundlach Jan 1, 1970 0 CC said: Greetings: Reading some amplifier reviews here: http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx "The NAD is warm but not nearly as open." What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is there much difference in the sound of a$250 vs. $2500 amp with the same "numbers?" Most (not all) of the folks buying this stuff can't hear the difference. Many years ago I worked in a stereo shop in a college town - there's a self important group. My favorite demo was to switch between the cheapest 20 watt amp and the most expensive 500 watt system. As long as the cheapy wasn't clipping and the levels matched, nearly nobody could tell. I don't dispute that there are definite differences between amps. It's just that the 'numbers' don't often reflect this. My opinion is that the measurements aren't nearly good enough. BTW my favorite amp was a Marantz model 15 from way back when. I suppose there might be, if there are differences in numbers not specified. I recall a long time ago when I bought my Kyocera A-710 integrated amp, a 100W/ch 45 lbs. whopper with 60A peak current capability (that really impressed me) that it simply mopped the floor with a Denon component in the shop of similar power level. So naturally I walked out with the Kyocera. Of course it listed for$1000 vs. the
$600 Denon, and I only bought it because it was a display for$600. The
difference in sound quality seemed apparent when listening, and before I
was even told anything about it's parameters. Perhaps just the
salesman's "you will find this model over here to be far superior to the
Denon" suggestion conditioned me to perceive things differently? I dunno.

Unfortunately, it now has problems and I'd like to replace it with
something smaller, but with respectable quality and capacity for my
impoverished apartment lifestyle. I've narrowed down to:

NAD C325BEE 50W/ch $399 (would really be right for the wallet if it's decent enough) NAD C352 80W/ch$599
Rotel RA-1062 60W/ch $699 (folks just gleem over this one) Arcam A65+ 40W/ch$699 (I just discovered this today)

Nothing is nearly half as heavily built as my Kyocera. It's really
crazy reading folks' reviews, with all the "color, warmth, openness,
etc." Are these guys tripping or what?

If you read enough of the reviews, you'll find folks parroting what
they've read without having a clue. It's OK as long as they're happy -
and even if they aren't.

My general rule is - bring along what YOU think is the best recording
you've heard and ask them to play what THEY think is the best. Find
something in your price range you like and never mind the numbers.
There is ALWAYS something 'better'.

Personally, I love the bottom octave from 16-32Hz and I hate tweeters
that have an identifiable pitch when playing pink noise (it whistles).
If I can't convince myself it's at least a little 'real', turn it off
Good day!

Same to you

GG

G

#### Genome

Jan 1, 1970
0
CC said:
Greetings:

Good day!

Christopher R. Carlen
[email protected]
SuSE 9.1 Linux 2.6.5

SuSE should not be an excuse for not building one yourself. You have
published piccies of PCB's so you must be good to go.....

DNA

E

#### ehsjr

Jan 1, 1970
0
CC said:
Greetings:

http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx

"The NAD is warm but not nearly as open."

Really funny. I know just what the guy means. Then a ton of additional
reviewers spew paragraph after paragraph of the same silliness.

What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is
there much difference in the sound of a $250 vs.$2500 amp with the same
"numbers?"

I suppose there might be, if there are differences in numbers not
specified. I recall a long time ago when I bought my Kyocera A-710
integrated amp, a 100W/ch 45 lbs. whopper with 60A peak current
capability (that really impressed me) that it simply mopped the floor
with a Denon component in the shop of similar power level. So naturally
I walked out with the Kyocera. Of course it listed for $1000 vs. the$600 Denon, and I only bought it because it was a display for $600. The difference in sound quality seemed apparent when listening, and before I was even told anything about it's parameters. Perhaps just the salesman's "you will find this model over here to be far superior to the Denon" suggestion conditioned me to perceive things differently? I dunno. Unfortunately, it now has problems and I'd like to replace it with something smaller, but with respectable quality and capacity for my impoverished apartment lifestyle. I've narrowed down to: NAD C325BEE 50W/ch$399 (would really be right for the wallet if it's
decent enough)
NAD C352 80W/ch $599 Rotel RA-1062 60W/ch$699 (folks just gleem over this one)
Arcam A65+ 40W/ch $699 (I just discovered this today) Nothing is nearly half as heavily built as my Kyocera. It's really crazy reading folks' reviews, with all the "color, warmth, openness, etc." Are these guys tripping or what? Good day! Sometimes these write-ups are so full of bafflegab and technotripe that it is impossible to figure out just whatinthehell they are trying to say, other than "buy this product". Maybe the writers are breathing oxygen-free air. Ed E #### Eeyore Jan 1, 1970 0 CC said: Greetings: Reading some amplifier reviews here: http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx "The NAD is warm but not nearly as open." Really funny. I know just what the guy means. Then a ton of additional reviewers spew paragraph after paragraph of the same silliness. What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is there much difference in the sound of a$250 vs. $2500 amp with the same "numbers?" It depends how competently they're designed and made. Assuming said competency, for good examples in the price range you're discussing the answer is likely to be very tiny indeed. The differences between speakers totally dwarfs any other components in the audio chain. Most hi-fi rags don't do properly controlled tests / comparisons so their reviews are simply there to fill the pages for the most part. Adjectives like 'warmth' and openness' are very misleading. Some foolish ppl have come to believe that certain *components* now have these attributes which is the biggest con-trick ever but great for the purveyors of high-priced audio snake oil. Graham E #### Eeyore Jan 1, 1970 0 Homer said: No, different bunch of snobs. Perhaps. Either way it hardly matters. Graham W #### west Jan 1, 1970 0 CC said: Greetings: Reading some amplifier reviews here: http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx "The NAD is warm but not nearly as open." Really funny. I know just what the guy means. Then a ton of additional reviewers spew paragraph after paragraph of the same silliness. What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is there much difference in the sound of a$250 vs. $2500 amp with the same "numbers?" I suppose there might be, if there are differences in numbers not specified. I recall a long time ago when I bought my Kyocera A-710 integrated amp, a 100W/ch 45 lbs. whopper with 60A peak current capability (that really impressed me) that it simply mopped the floor with a Denon component in the shop of similar power level. So naturally I walked out with the Kyocera. Of course it listed for$1000 vs. the
$600 Denon, and I only bought it because it was a display for$600. The
difference in sound quality seemed apparent when listening, and before I
was even told anything about it's parameters. Perhaps just the
salesman's "you will find this model over here to be far superior to the
Denon" suggestion conditioned me to perceive things differently? I dunno.

Unfortunately, it now has problems and I'd like to replace it with
something smaller, but with respectable quality and capacity for my
impoverished apartment lifestyle. I've narrowed down to:

NAD C325BEE 50W/ch $399 (would really be right for the wallet if it's decent enough) NAD C352 80W/ch$599
Rotel RA-1062 60W/ch $699 (folks just gleem over this one) Arcam A65+ 40W/ch$699 (I just discovered this today)

Nothing is nearly half as heavily built as my Kyocera. It's really
crazy reading folks' reviews, with all the "color, warmth, openness,
etc." Are these guys tripping or what?

Good day!

Would you consider selling me your Kyocera A-710? Thanks.

west

E

#### Eeyore

Jan 1, 1970
0
YD said:
Same snob mentality.

Perhaps, but at least you *can* tell different wines apart !

Graham

Y

Jan 1, 1970
0
B

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
CC said:
Greetings:

http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx

"The NAD is warm but not nearly as open."

Really funny. I know just what the guy means. Then a ton of additional
reviewers spew paragraph after paragraph of the same silliness.

What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is
there much difference in the sound of a $250 vs.$2500 amp with the same
"numbers?"

I suppose there might be, if there are differences in numbers not
specified. I recall a long time ago when I bought my Kyocera A-710
integrated amp, a 100W/ch 45 lbs. whopper with 60A peak current
capability (that really impressed me) that it simply mopped the floor
with a Denon component in the shop of similar power level. So naturally
I walked out with the Kyocera. Of course it listed for $1000 vs. the$600 Denon, and I only bought it because it was a display for $600. The difference in sound quality seemed apparent when listening, and before I was even told anything about it's parameters. Perhaps just the salesman's "you will find this model over here to be far superior to the Denon" suggestion conditioned me to perceive things differently? I dunno. Unfortunately, it now has problems and I'd like to replace it with something smaller, but with respectable quality and capacity for my impoverished apartment lifestyle. I've narrowed down to: NAD C325BEE 50W/ch$399 (would really be right for the wallet if it's
decent enough)
NAD C352 80W/ch $599 Rotel RA-1062 60W/ch$699 (folks just gleem over this one)
Arcam A65+ 40W/ch $699 (I just discovered this today) Nothing is nearly half as heavily built as my Kyocera. It's really crazy reading folks' reviews, with all the "color, warmth, openness, etc." Are these guys tripping or what? Yes. There is an upper limit on the price it is worth paying for an amplifier - probably around$500.

Anything selling at a higher price probably sells in too small a volume
to cover the cost of getting a good designer to design it right in the
first place, let alone to cover the rather higher cost of testing it
for the various forms of distortion once it has been built.

The only electronic engineer I ever knew who ever looked at a
significant series of high priced amplifiers - he wanted something to
drive his Quad electrostatic speakers, and the local dealers lent him a
lot of gear over the years - found most of them full of trivial
electronic errors.

When I last looked, Ralph was a technical director at FEI, and I've no
more reason to doubt his competence now than I had when I was working
for him back in 1984.

J

#### Jan Panteltje

Jan 1, 1970
0
Greetings:

http://audioholics.audioreview.com/...ated-amplifiers/Arcam/PRD_125582_2717crx.aspx

"The NAD is warm but not nearly as open."

Complete bullocks (nonsense, madness, crap, silly talk, a-tech blabber etc.
Really funny.

Not really.
I know just what the guy means.

Then yo uknow mere then he does
reviewers spew paragraph after paragraph of the same silliness.

snif snif.
What do engineers with experience in audio amps think of this stuff? Is
there much difference in the sound of a $250 vs.$2500 amp with the same
"numbers?"

Numbers? Wha tnumbers? 'warm' temperature in degrees C?

What ever you buy, make sure it is not simply gold plated but solid gold.
At least you will be able to sell it and get something for it.
Before you buy look up the price of the gold, and make sure you buy low
and sell high.

K

#### Kryten

Jan 1, 1970
0
I've got an Arcam A65 and CD72 with Acoustic Energy AE1 speakers.
£1000 the lot, c. 2002.
I've no complaints about any item, don't feel the need to 'upgrade'.

When I worked at Arcam, I liked their attitude.
In essence they assumed their market was a keen music lover who was prepared
to pay a good price for good kit, and had a realistic salary. Then they work
hard to squeeze the best quality sound for that price.

It is certainly possible to make kit with better specifications if money is
no object and/or the buyer has more money than sense, but you get
diminishing returns for your money. A lot of the time people buy expensive
kit as a status symbols, to say "I can afford to pay huge prices that make
lesser earners wince".

C

#### CC

Jan 1, 1970
0
Glenn said:
Most (not all) of the folks buying this stuff can't hear the
difference. Many years ago I worked in a stereo shop in a college town
- there's a self important group. My favorite demo was to switch
between the cheapest 20 watt amp and the most expensive 500 watt
system. As long as the cheapy wasn't clipping and the levels matched,
nearly nobody could tell. I don't dispute that there are definite
differences between amps. It's just that the 'numbers' don't often
reflect this. My opinion is that the measurements aren't nearly good
enough. BTW my favorite amp was a Marantz model 15 from way back when.

Yes, this is what I expect. Here is a funny story that tells it all,
yet the writer doesn't seem to fully put 2+2 together and reach the
obvious conclusion about his own overpriced mediocre exotic amplifiers:

crobinson9512: "One fun demonstration of this fact is to go grab one of
the inexpensive TriPath digital amps (Sonic Impact, Teac, etc.) that
sell on Amazon for $25 to$95) and run a good source into it (a nice CDP
will do very well). These digital amps are very clean, distortion-wise,
up to about 5W before they start to get noisy. The sound will blow you
away and wonder why loons like me have five grand invested in beautiful
tube gear."

http://www.audioreview.com/PRD_119958_1594crx.aspx#review0

Earlier he states:

"having a clean "first watt" from your amplifier is crucial. Solid state
amps with high power and low THD figures may not do well, because these
amps THD figures are measured at the RATED OUTPUT."

I am rather skeptical of this. Makes me curious to see how my own amp
looks putting out a low signal level. Though I'm not sure I could see
anything but gross several % distortion if it existed, on my noisy
digital scope. Unless I hash up something I suppose.

Personally, I love the bottom octave from 16-32Hz and I hate tweeters
that have an identifiable pitch when playing pink noise (it whistles).
If I can't convince myself it's at least a little 'real', turn it off

Interesting way to judge if a tweater is worth anything.

Thanks for the input.

C

#### CC

Jan 1, 1970
0
Genome said:
SuSE should not be an excuse for not building one yourself. You have
published piccies of PCB's so you must be good to go.....

I run Eagle on Suse.

Time is of the essence. I have many projects in the works already, and
I'm not a discrete designer.

Thanks for the input!

C

#### CC

Jan 1, 1970
0
Eeyore said:
It depends how competently they're designed and made.

Assuming said competency, for good examples in the price range you're discussing the answer is likely to be
very tiny indeed.

The differences between speakers totally dwarfs any other components in the audio chain.

That's the view that I've always held. Though I was a softy for the
idea that the amps reserve power mattered when pushed hard. At present
I'm not planning on listening to loud music, so a modest amp will do.
Most hi-fi rags don't do properly controlled tests / comparisons so their reviews are simply there to fill
the pages for the most part.

Well the link provided by the uncivilized and vulgar "Phil Allison":

http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/ampins/pseudo/subjectv.htm#9

Is a good take on the present state of affairs in audio
book it until now. Quite bizarre that things wound up in this sorry
state actually.
Adjectives like 'warmth' and openness' are very misleading. Some foolish ppl have come to believe that
certain *components* now have these attributes which is the biggest con-trick ever but great for the
purveyors of high-priced audio snake oil.

Yes, they don't mean much to me. Hence my sarcastic take on what I have

Thanks for the input.

C

#### CC

Jan 1, 1970
0
Eeyore said:
Perhaps, but at least you *can* tell different wines apart !

Any yet it would be dramatically more difficult to quantify why.

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