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Do amps really have different signatures? - Page 2  

post #16 of 135
If things all sound the same, we'd have one or two suppliers. There is certainly differences in sonic character for a number of reasons. Mostly the wide spec used for parts, design specs, power supply, power itself, cables, ICs, etc.
post #17 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

 

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.

 

I was referring initially to Bigshot's post (8) and not what you have said.

post #18 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

Seriously you don't need a blind test to tell the difference between components.

 

Blind tests are not done for making it easier for you to tell the difference, they are done to make sure that you actually can tell the difference.

 

Cheers!

post #19 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

If things all sound the same, we'd have one or two suppliers. There is certainly differences in sonic character for a number of reasons. Mostly the wide spec used for parts, design specs, power supply, power itself, cables, ICs, etc.

 

No one says everything sounds the same, only that things can sound the same to each other and an ideal "wire with gain" device without needing huge investment and/or esoteric components.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

we'd have one or two suppliers.

 

That is not how the market works, if there is a demand for something, then it will be sold. Maybe some consumers actually prefer the colored sound, or make purchase decisions based on other factors (aesthetics, features, etc.), or are simply not well informed (you can sell them unneeded/inferior/overpriced things with good marketing, as shown by the popularity of Monster Beats products, for example normal_smile%20.gif).

post #20 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

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.

You were hearing differences in the speakers and headphones, not the amps.
post #21 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

Seriously you don't need a blind test to tell the difference between components.

Without a blind test, I don't doubt you do think you hear differences. You seem to be convinced that you should be able to. But the truth is, that all properly designed solid state amps are calibrated to sound exactly the same... Sony, Marantz, Yamaha, McIntosh... It doesn't matter. They all have stone flat response with no audible distortion. Expensive ones and cheap ones, the only difference between them is power.

I've had several amps over the years. When one burned out and was replaced, all my EQ settings remained the same. I've done quite a bit of careful line level matched A/B comparisons between CD players, SACD players and iPods. Those all sound the same too.

Now you might say, "If everything sounds the same, why would anyone spend thousands of dollars on high end players and boutique amps?" That question, I don't have an answer for. I can only speculate that they haven't gone to the trouble of controlled comparison testing to find out for themselves.
post #22 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

If things all sound the same, we'd have one or two suppliers. There is certainly differences in sonic character for a number of reasons. Mostly the wide spec used for parts, design specs, power supply, power itself, cables, ICs, etc.

Go to your local supermarket and look at all the different brands of canned green beans. They're all the same. Why so many brands?

Many of the key parts in consumer audio products are the same. Most of the major brands buy from the same suppliers. You might find the same basic DAC in your iPod as in your CD player. Parts are manufactured to established specifications. One brand of CD player isn't functionally different than any other. It just has different features, a different interface for the controls, and a different case.

Why so many green beans? ...as a marketing expert.
post #23 of 135

...all human beans are the same...more whisky pls.beerchug.gif

post #24 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


You were hearing differences in the speakers and headphones, not the amps.

He was probably hearing the differences in intentionally coloured components. That being said I do hear a difference in components, 1 was a amp from the 80s/90s and another was a modern component :P It is worth noting that modern headamps higher up the chain pretty much sound similar to me(if not the same) though provided that they have good specs(sadly not cheap either) of course.  

post #25 of 135
That's true. My ca.1980 receiver had a fairly high distortion level. Amps have gotten a lot better. When I say all amps sound the same, I'm referring to amps you can buy today. And I'm not talking about tube amps or deliberately colored audiophile bait.
post #26 of 135

I think the only headphone amp territory that is worth exploring further is the transportable sector. Other than that, only the "drive HE-6" sector is probably worth designing amps for but as we all know, that forms a very, very small portion of the market. 

 

For speakers, the only thing worth doing in that sector to me is actives design for more efficient(thus dissipating less heat) and lower distortion amplifiers but that as well is probably near or at its peak.


Edited by firev1 - 8/24/12 at 11:27am
post #27 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Without a blind test, I don't doubt you do think you hear differences. You seem to be convinced that you should be able to. But the truth is, that all properly designed solid state amps are calibrated to sound exactly the same... Sony, Marantz, Yamaha, McIntosh... It doesn't matter. They all have stone flat response with no audible distortion. Expensive ones and cheap ones, the only difference between them is power.
I've had several amps over the years. When one burned out and was replaced, all my EQ settings remained the same. I've done quite a bit of careful line level matched A/B comparisons between CD players, SACD players and iPods. Those all sound the same too.
Now you might say, "If everything sounds the same, why would anyone spend thousands of dollars on high end players and boutique amps?" That question, I don't have an answer for. I can only speculate that they haven't gone to the trouble of controlled comparison testing to find out for themselves.
I knew my iPhone sounded the same as my desktop amp! rolleyes.gif

You guys know that the ohms (resistance) for different headphones are different right? Some headphones and nearly all IEM's have different ohms at different frequencies. Some amp's are great at low ohms, and some at high ohms. With 128mp3 you can hear the difference....
post #28 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2man View Post

I knew my iPhone sounded the same as my desktop amp! rolleyes.gif
You guys know that the ohms (resistance) for different headphones are different right? Some headphones and nearly all IEM's have different ohms at different frequencies. Some amp's are great at low ohms, and some at high ohms. With 1w28mp3 you can hear the difference....
I believe what is being referred to is sonic signature. It has been stated that amps vary in power. It is a given that sufficient power is a factor in any situation.
post #29 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2man View Post

I knew my iPhone sounded the same as my desktop amp!

Your amp and your iPhone are two completely different pieces of equipment with different functions.

Your iPhone and your CD player sound the same. I did a line level matched A/B comparison between my iPods, iPad, and iPhone and several CD and SACD players. The line out of the Apple portable devices is identical to the line out of the standalone home players.

Impedence is a factor of power. Some headphones and speakers require more power to perform to spec. That isn't what I'm talking about. Properly designed amps with enough power that perform to spec all sound the same. Most amps and receivers you buy at Amazon, Best Buy or any other normal electronics store sound the same. The only amps that sound different are tube amps and deliberately colored amps marketed to undiscerning audiophiles. I would recommend avoiding those.
Edited by bigshot - 8/24/12 at 1:28pm
post #30 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Impedence is a factor of power. Some headphones and speakers require more power to perform to spec. That isn't what I'm talking about. Properly designed amps with enough power that perform to spec all sound the same. Most amps and receivers you buy at Amazon, Best Buy or any other normal electronics store sound the same. The only amps that sound different are tube amps and deliberately colored amps marketed to undiscerning audiophiles. I would recommend avoiding those.

I'll I'm trying to say is that amps have different levels of amplification at different impedance. Headphones have different impedance at different frequencies. If you put those two facts together, your lows may be amplified x3 and your highs amplified x5. That is a "bright" amplifier. Now it has a sound signature. I suppose this doesn't qualify since now it's not "properly designed"?

Saying that even a majority of amps are "properly designed" is a pretty big leap.
All 0.5 watt amps have the same distortion? The same slew rate? The same damping rate? etc etc Even when using different technologies like j-fett, mosfett, or tubes? OTL, SET, etc topologies are the exact same? Even with Class A, Class A/B, or Class B power only?
Now we can add the skill level of the engineers. They all got it perfect eh?

I give it a 0% chance they all sound identical. I'm sure on some headphones you couldn't tell the difference, but they are all gonna be different.
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