Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Do amps really have different signatures?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Do amps really have different signatures?  

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 

Pretty much what the title says.

 

I always thought that amps just make the sound louder. Never knew different amps have different signatures.

post #2 of 135

They can be designed not to have an audible "signature" (with flat frequency/phase response, inaudible noise, insignificant distortion at any audio frequency with a real load at realistic levels, insignificant output impedance, and so on), but some do, either intentionally, or as a result of incompetent engineering/cost saving.

post #3 of 135

"Sound signature" is the common phrase used, but it may not be the most accurate representation of what's going on.  To me, that implies that the signature is something consistent, but whatever difference in sound that is imparted depends on the load (which headphones), output level (listening volume), and so on.  There may be many similarities across different loads, or some aspects could be quite different.

post #4 of 135
High end amps are the most apt to be deliberately colored. I've found that with low end and consumer grade amps, the primary differences are features and power. They're all clean as a whistle.
post #5 of 135
Thread Starter 

Is this by any chance because unless designed to be so, all amps are neutral and the only differences between them are features and power, so the 'high end' amp manufacturers colour the sound intentionally to make it a selling point?

post #6 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siva108 View Post

Is this by any chance because unless designed to be so, all amps are neutral and the only differences between them are features and power, so the 'high end' amp manufacturers colour the sound intentionally to make it a selling point?

 

They tend to sound different, even from the same manufacturer, different models can sound different from each other. Different components used, different design and different power rating. The chief designer may also have a preference in the sound of the amp that he/she designs. So yes you can say that the designer intentionally modifies the sound to his preference but that is because that's what he feels is the right sound. So essentially he is tuning his amps by his own ears. That becomes the house sound of his brand.

 

Fortunately there are others so you have different choices.

post #7 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siva108 View Post

Is this by any chance because unless designed to be so, all amps are neutral and the only differences between them are features and power, so the 'high end' amp manufacturers colour the sound intentionally to make it a selling point?

That's a bingo.

All the people with high end amps claiming that theirs sounds better are wrong... Theirs just sounds different. Uncolored is better and just about all consumer amps and receivers are uncolored and the same.
post #8 of 135
If an amp or CD player sounds different from other amps and CD players, I would return it as defective.
post #9 of 135

The tech for tube amps has been around for a long time. It seems odd to me that if totl amps were actually reproducing sound with a flat response, then why do they keep coming out with new models? Obviously it makes sense to have different models to accommodate headphones with varying power requirements, but other than that it seems that to come out with a new model is to admit that the previous model wasn't flat, or that the new model isn't flat. 

 

Other possible reasons for new models: to create aesthetic differentiation, to create tiered pricing models based on "flatter" FR, or to just provide different FR options. If totl amps sound different (which I think they do after hearing a few) it seems to me like a rich man's hobby. It can take hundred's of combinations to get the "right" sound, and how does one know when they hear it? How can does one determine that there isn't something better? When there is no more money to spend? It can be a fun hobby, and there is some good sound to be had, but most of it is just fun and personal preference imo. 

post #10 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

If an amp or CD player sounds different from other amps and CD players, I would return it as defective.

 

That must mean that 99% of all amps/CD players are defective.

 

Please...     eek.gif

post #11 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

That must mean that 99% of all amps/CD players are defective.

 

Assuming that you can tell apart 99% of all amps/CD players in a properly controlled blind test.

post #12 of 135

I have heard over 40 amps, mainly speaker but also headphone, and over 30 different CD players and YES I could always tell that I was hearing a different player/amp. Could I tell which one is which specific to particular manufacturer then no. But I can always hear differences. I could also hear clear differences between differenct quality amps from the same company.

post #13 of 135

You might have missed an important part:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

Assuming that you can tell apart 99% of all amps/CD players in a properly controlled blind test.

 

Without that, people can (and did) hear "clear improvement" going from FLAC to WAV, from using green marker pens on CDs, and more. You may or may not be able to really hear the difference between a particular pair of devices, but the chances of hearing a difference as a result of flaws in the way the comparison is performed are fairly high.

post #14 of 135

Seriously you don't need a blind test to tell the difference between components. Yes sometimes the components may be voiced in a similar way when differences are small and difficult to detect.

 

By saying 99% of all amps sound the same is basically the same as saying,within a very small margin for error,

 

a. that all tube amps sound the same as all SS amps.

b. all amps sound the same regardless as to wether they are class A, class A/B, class C or even class D.

c. all manufacturers strive for the same sound.

d. all amp design methodology's end up sounding the same.

e. everyone who has ever upgraded components for a better sound is deluding themselves and are imaging any improvements.

 

I think you will agree that none of the above are accurate or realistic thereby proving that the statement '99% of all amps sound the same' is pure hogwash.


Edited by nigeljames - 8/24/12 at 6:05am
post #15 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

Seriously you don't need a blind test to tell the difference between components. Yes sometimes the components may be voiced in a similar way when differences are small and difficult to detect.

 

By saying 99% of all amps sound the same is basically the same as saying,within a very small margin for error,

 

a. that all tube amps sound the same as all SS amps.

b. all amps sound the same regardless as to wether they are class A, class A/B, class C or even class D.

c. all manufacturers strive for the same sound.

d. all amp design methodology's end up sounding the same.

e. everyone who has ever upgraded components for a better sound is deluding themselves and are imaging any improvements.

 

I think you will agree that none of the above are accurate or realistic thereby proving that the statement '99% of all amps sound the same' is pure hogwash.

 

Maybe you should reread what was actually said.  What was questioned was that somebody could distinguish 99% of amps/CD players from each other by listening (levels being matched, etc.).  Surely over 1% of them sound alike?

 

What was not claimed is that 99% sound alike.

 

 

Going through (a)-(e), I'd change to this:

a.  some tube amps sound the same as many SS amps

b.  many amps can sound the same despite not being the same class

c.  many manufacturers strive for the same sound; others don't necessarily but end up with it regardless, sometimes

d.  some amp design methodologies end up producing products that sound the same

e.  many people that upgrade components for a better sound are getting better performance; sometimes, they're getting worse performance (but worse can sound different and different can sound better); but since they're expecting changes, they are predisposed to hearing improvements even if there is no significant change.  sometimes there is a legitimate difference

 

It's mostly a matter of the "all" or "none" not being true.


Edited by mikeaj - 8/24/12 at 6:45am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Do amps really have different signatures?