TAS Admits It: Amplifiers a Solved Problem
Nov 12, 2016 at 8:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

watchnerd

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Wow, I never thought I'd read this from The Absolute Sound; Paul Seydor in the opening paragraph of his review of the Benchmark AHB2 Amplifier says:
 
"I know this is not the sort of thing we’re supposed to say about products, but it has been evident for a very long time now that solid-state electronics, particularly linestage preamplifiers and power amplifiers, have reached a point where they are effectively a solved problem such that it is exceeding difficult to tell one from another even in the most exacting A/B comparisons. Ferretting out differences typically involves zeroing in on a very specific and limited characteristic or set of characteristics with such concentration as to leave one tired, uncertain, or both: in other words, an activity that is the very antithesis of what is involved in listening seriously, even critically—to say nothing of pleasurably—to music."
 
Of course such heresy can't go unrebuked, so Robert Harley is quick to add:
 
[I must point out that this view is not shared by the TAS editorial staff. —RH]
 
Naturally these sentiments should apply to headphone amps, as well, given their relatively easier to manage power outputs.
 
Anyone disagree?
 
Nov 12, 2016 at 8:50 PM Post #2 of 4

watchnerd

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There was also this choice quote at the end of the article:
 
"But audiophiles? Well, the longer I’m in this racket, the less I sometimes think I understand what audiophiles really want except that a lot of dallying about with components, equipment swapping, and coloration matching seems to be what amuses them. I’m not sure I can in good conscience recommend this amplifier to them as I am not sure they are in search of what it offers: a precision instrument designed to perform the precisely defined task of reproducing music and sound accurately, which it does essentially to perfection."
 
Somebody seems to be having a crisis of faith...
 
Nov 16, 2016 at 3:26 AM Post #3 of 4

old tech

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No surprise to any amp designer worth their salt.  The amp question was settled 30 years ago by Carver with his Carver challenge.
 
The only surprise here is that the claim was made in the absolute sound, probably the most voodoo, audio woo mag there is.  Snake oil is their product and most of their reviewers are cranks.
 
Nov 16, 2016 at 9:46 AM Post #4 of 4

watchnerd

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  No surprise to any amp designer worth their salt.  The amp question was settled 30 years ago by Carver with his Carver challenge.
 
The only surprise here is that the claim was made in the absolute sound, probably the most voodoo, audio woo mag there is.  Snake oil is their product and most of their reviewers are cranks.

 
Agreed -- it's not the claim, it's that The Absolute Sound made it.
 

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