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What is the most influencial component in an amp to SQ?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I see upgrades for amps and outputs of dacs and cdps. Most of them are focused around the caps. Transformers are also a big ticket item.

What components make for the biggest impact in the sound? And what are the best of the options for the components of choice?
post #2 of 7
power supply and output transistors are probably the biggest impact
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
But what in the power supply? Caps, transistors or tubes, Trannys....

When trying to decide on upgrades, what does a novice need to know to make the right decisions concerning the "best bang" investment?
post #4 of 7
I'd say volume control for amps and preamps.

Everything goes through your pot/attenuator - no matter how good all the subsequent stages are, they can only amplify the output of this part. And pots can add quite an appreciable amount of noise.

This explains why you can spend as little as $5 (cheap stereo pot) or as much as $500 (Alps RK50, AVC/TVC controls or certain balanced attenuators) for the same part.

For DACs, it's the chip. Pretty self-explanatory.

For CDPs, it's not as clear. It seems that most upgrades are either for separating analog and digital power supplies (and making the analog supply more robust) and upgrading the clock. For me, however, the best upgrade is having a quiet transport mechanism that is inaudible when a disc is playing.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoodySteve View Post
For DACs, it's the chip. Pretty self-explanatory.

For CDPs, it's not as clear. It seems that most upgrades are either for separating analog and digital power supplies (and making the analog supply more robust) and upgrading the clock. For me, however, the best upgrade is having a quiet transport mechanism that is inaudible when a disc is playing.
This applies equally to standalone DACs
post #6 of 7
For amps, I would say the voltage gain opamps/driver tubes. Other things factor in - power supply, output stage (current gain), any DC-blocking caps in the signal path, volume control or attenuator, even the hookup wiring used - but the voltage gain stage is the heart of the amp.
post #7 of 7
The only component which can verifiably be linked to sound quality is.
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the ON switch
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