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Denon vs. seperates Question?


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#21 of 47 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted January 01 2005 - 07:37 AM

>"I do believe in a highly controlled test (such as the one Paul S described), I will not be able to tell the difference between two amps. The problem is, people don't normally listen to music, or watch movies under those "controlled" conditions. For example, classical music, or movies such as LOTR & Star Wars, tend to expose the weakness of a cheap receiver, due to their demand on dynamic range alone.

Shiu hit the nail on the head. Such "highly controlled" studies remove the subject being studied from reality.

Paul, I am well aware of the $10k challenge, and if you weren't so intent on showing how clever you are, you would see that I agree that neither I nor anyone else (IMHO) could beat that challenge.

But Shiu's comments explain exactly why. In REALITY, if you hook up a 10wpc tube amp or car amp and crank it to play Armageddon or seriously transient classical (try the Jean Gillou version of Mussorgsky's Pics at an Exhib. or the Mercury Living Presence recording of Tchaik. 1812), you're going to drive that amp to clip and blow out speaker components. That's just the way it works. But much more powerful solid state amps just aren't going to do that.

In real-world scenarios ... actual listening ... there are major differences in how amps perform. THAT'S my point Paul. No one including myself can hear the diff. between amps playing material the tester selects in circumstances they control. The study is set up to prove their point. It does not prove that no one can hear diffs between amps in all circumstances.

#22 of 47 OFFLINE   Paul S

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Posted January 01 2005 - 12:50 PM

Paul, I am well aware of the $10k challenge, and if you weren't so intent on showing how clever you are


Elinor, I am in no way intent on showing you or anyone else how clever I am. I have been in hi-fi audio since the mid 1960's. I have stated a few verities in the hopes that there might be a few people out there that will learn where to put their money effectively to get the highest quality audio while spending the least amount of money to do it. I offer good advice based on years of trial and error.

Regarding the need of powerful amps/receivers to reproduce high energy portions of music. With the invention of the powered subwoofer in the early 1970's just about any system with a reasonably efficient set of speakers can reproduce music at extremely loud volumes without the need of more than 100 wpc since amplifiers/receivers no longer have to reproduce frequencies below 100 hz.

#23 of 47 OFFLINE   Oachalon

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Posted January 01 2005 - 03:41 PM

the test shows that a watt is a watt. They are not saying how much power each amp handles. Well duh a 10 watt amp will struggle when you push the hell out of it. They are saying that a watt from a $10,000 amp is the same watt that is from a $10 amp. As long as either arent pushed they will sound the same. So if you had a $10 1,000 watt amp and ur running a movie ur probably not pushing it at all so it will sound exactly the same. A watt is a watt.

#24 of 47 OFFLINE   Aaron_Mum

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Posted January 02 2005 - 02:54 AM

I think there is something to be said for better DACs as well. I was at my local audio shop a while back and they hooked up a Benchmark DAC to the system and then removed it and then put it back on and then removed it... My wife was with me and she is not an "audiophile" and she could hear the difference the Benchmark made. I also heard Benchmark markets their DAC by hooking it up to $50 crap DVD players and blowing away high end DVD players by just letting people listen to the difference. It worked for me!

I would have to conclude that better DACs in different recievers/seperates would cause the sound to be different. Therefore its more than just a watt is a watt.

Just tossing my experience into the mix. Posted Image

#25 of 47 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted January 02 2005 - 07:50 AM

Well I guess I wasted all that money on my 2-channel tube system when all I really needed was a Bose wave radio!Posted Image

#26 of 47 OFFLINE   Oachalon

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Posted January 02 2005 - 08:42 AM

We are not talking about dacs. We are talking about amplifiers. The amplifier itself. Yes dacs are different they will process different but just an amplifier itself will sound the same. You turn off processing and crossovers and all that stuff and just go down to the amp a watt will be a watt no matter what.

#27 of 47 OFFLINE   Benihana

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Posted January 02 2005 - 09:24 AM

exactly, a watt is a watt. However, the main reason I would call a more expensive amplifier "better", is because sometimes they give true power ratings, or underrated ratings, and they perform better than their specs indicate. This is the way it worx in the car audio world Posted Image . Kind of like how a JL Audio 500 watt monoblock sub amplifier played louder and cleaner than a comparable rockford 800 watt monoblock sub amplifier, both playing at 4 ohm

#28 of 47 OFFLINE   Oachalon

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Posted January 02 2005 - 12:30 PM

rockford actually use to rate their amps correctly but i still have never liked them.

#29 of 47 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted January 08 2005 - 10:49 AM

Paul S

If you have been into audio for 25 years you probably read Julian Hirsch in Stereo Review say a thousand times that all amps sound the same. I believed that for more than 20 years until I had the chance to listen to 4 amps in my home on my speakers with my favorite CDs.

To my surprise they did not all sound the same. Long story short: the Nakamichi had better harmonics than the others. What does that mean? Real instruments (not electric guitars) sounded more natural. Another finding: a Denon had more "punch" than the others. Something to do with the power supply I believe.

I was chagrined because I wanted the Nakamichi and it cost me $1,100.

I am not a golden ear yet I could hear the difference. Life would have been a lot simpler and less costly if I had only not tried that experiement. But you can't go back. Those who have never heard any differences are the lucky ones. Makes life simple and less expensive.

If I had chosen other amps to listen to perhaps I would not have heard any differences, I don't know. All I know is that to the best of my experience, old Julian Hirsch was wrong.

Artie

#30 of 47 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted January 08 2005 - 11:04 AM

Art, if you look at the description of "the test" it says they equalize the amps. Well, now, doesn't that remove a HUGE factor people might use to distinguish amps.

The test is skewed to make sure no one can beat it. Of course amps sound and perform differently. That is why there is more than one brand.

But anyone who does not believe in, or cannot hear a difference, can buy any inexpensive receiver and be perfectly happy, and never need worry about performance.

#31 of 47 OFFLINE   Paul S

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Posted January 08 2005 - 12:46 PM

The amps/receivers in the Hirsch/Houck lab tests were not equalized. I stand by my statement, no one can tell the difference between amplifiers. I have had more than a dozen or two throughout the years and have yet to hear one that sounded a bit better or different than the other. If you do, go buy it.

Incidentally, if you can equalize any amplifier to sound like another, why not simply go out and buy an equalizer and have your amp sound exactly the way you want it to.

#32 of 47 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted January 08 2005 - 05:32 PM

If all amps sounded the same then I would have stayed with solid state and not bought tubes. I'm not rich and i'm not spending money just to spend it. I know there is a anti-audiophile sentiment on this board but do you really think audiophiles spend large amounts of money on electronics and cables and get nothing out of it? If everthing sounded the same then I would have a more expensive car and a bigger place to live and not so much money tied up in this hobby.

#33 of 47 OFFLINE   Paul S

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Posted January 08 2005 - 10:16 PM

Quote:
Do you really think audiophiles spend large amounts of money on electronics and cables and get nothing out of it?

Scott, the facts have been presented to you. Whether you choose to believe them is another matter.

As to audiophiles spending (wasting) large amounts of money, yes, they do. Many "audiophiles" are not happy unless they are spending large amounts of money and feel that the only way to improve their system is to have huge sums invested in their system. Such a shame that they don't put as much effort into common sense, education, and research as they do in reaching for their wallet.

As for "tubes". I lived through the tube generation and quite frankly I don't want a tube based receiver/amp, not even for free. Tubes are nothing but trouble. You should re-read the Hirsh Houck excerpt above. They could not find an audible difference in a $12,000 set of tube based monoblock amplifiers and any other solid state amp. Did you spend $12,000 on your tube amps??? Julian Hirsch was one of the most respected names in hi-fi audio testing. I have yet to find that his information was incorrect, misleading, or biased in any way.

#34 of 47 OFFLINE   JohnSmith

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Posted January 08 2005 - 11:46 PM

To anyone who think amplifiers (and pre-amps) sound the same- utter utter tosh.

I temporally swapped my Hifi pre-power Audiolab Integrated & Audiolab poweramp with a mates Arcam Hifi pre-power Integrated & Arcam Poweramp system for a week, just to hear our each other systems as we use would ours over that period (and not just for a few hours) :-)

Left to warm up for a couple of hours, I immediately noticed the difference...and I did not like it. It was far too soft sounding, great for background music but didn't have the detail of the Audiolab kit.

And the Arcam has a far higher noise floor, input noise through the speakers (not relayed), off-centre L/R level at lower levels- the 9 integrated was well known with this fault. It was also not as customizable as the 8000S in a AV setup, and had problems running as "poweramp mode" with even more noise. The Audiolabs are dead silent in either mode :-D

And mate said the same, Audiolab is more detailed and forward, and he regretted borrowing them because he sold the Arcam's and bought Audiolab! :-D

He's also got Rotels poweramps, again noticeable difference between that & Audiolabs...we prefer the Audiolabs but Rotel do OK for the asking price.

We also tried Audiolab pre-amp, Arcam poweramp system and Arcam pre-amp, Audiolab poweramp. Harder to tell the differences now, but the Audiolab pre-amp & Arcam poweramp sounded better than the Arcam full-system and Arcam pre + Audiolab poweramp system.

A while ago I also tried a NAD 912 to add to Hifi going into AV system- a 30W stereo 2 channel poweramp. Similar in sound to Arcam, but really boomy bass response. This is in a small room, driving 6 Ohm & 91dB speakers at low level. I preferred the cleaner Audiolab poweramp stages.

The only reason why people say this is so that they feel happy with their £200 AV amp driving £10,000 speakers, or are just deaf and shouldn't have bothered spening that much on speakers etc.

#35 of 47 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted January 09 2005 - 03:12 AM

Julian Hirsch never met a piece of gear he did not like. There are testers that lie somewhere between Julian Hirsch and the guys at Stereophile who babble about things like pace and rhythm in amps.

But Julian Hirsch is not the real issue.

I too had been through numerous receivers over the years and I had never heard qualitative differences. I had heard a receiver producing a lot of harmonic distortion when I was using a pair of speakers that came with an equalizer that applied a lot of bass boost. That 45 watt per channel receiver could not deliver sufficient power with all the bass boost the speaker's equalizer added.

Never the less, after having used 10 or more receivers and hearing no difference I had the first chance to have 4 different units in my home using my speakers with my favorite CDs and swapping them out at will. I'll tell ya again. They did not sound the same. The Nakamichi was clearly more natural sounding on real instruments. And I did exactly what you said. I bought it. All $1,100 worth.

You are one of the lucky ones who knows beyond any doubt that all amps sound the same. With this knowledge you can always buy the least expensive amp or receiver that has the features you want and know that it will sound the same as anything else out there. In every audible way it will be the equal of anything that exists. You will never have to even think about things like: Do any of the pure Class A amps actually sound better than other designs? Do any of the tube amps actually sound better than other designs? Do discrete designs sound any better than op-amp designs? Do the newer digital amps sound any better than class AB designs?

You lucky dog. It is great when life is simple and cheap.

#36 of 47 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted January 09 2005 - 03:59 AM

No Paul an "OPINION" has been presented to me. A couple of tests do not make your opinions fact. I've compared solid-state and tubes in the same system at my dealers and my home and they didn't sound the same but each had their strengths. Julian Hirsch wasn't without his own critics so he wasn't THE authority when it comes to sound. I used to buy into this nonsense of everything sounding the same and was a skeptic of high end audio until I heard high end systems and was amazed how much better they were compared to my mid-fi system. One of the nice things about having a quality dealer is being able to home audition things before buying and i've auditioned things i've wanted to like but didn't sound right to my ears and i've don't always pick the most expensive item when i'm comparing components. I've had the same speakers for about two years and i've gone from solid-state separates to a tube integrated to now tube separates and none of these combos sounded the same. As far as tubes go i've had tubes in my system for about a year and a half and I haven't had any problems at all. Tube gear has come a long way since the 60's just like turntables have come a long way since the 70's. Now on to your question of spending like I said i'm not rich so everything I buy is demo equipment. My Thor TPA 30's retail for $9900 and I got them for $4000 and I intend to keep them for very long time. Look if you want to believe that all amps sound alike go ahead it doesn't bother me but to the people reading this thread I say go out and listen for yourself and trust your own ears not what you read in a magazine or website because YOU will be living with your system not some writer.

#37 of 47 OFFLINE   Oachalon

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Posted January 09 2005 - 06:16 PM

I have a question when you guys tried different amps out and switched out one amp for another. Did the amps have different power ratings and when you listened to the difference was both the amps at the same exact decibel reading? To a human ear something that is even a little louder than another thing usually sounds better to a person. So far in a test that is still going on has proved that a watt is a watt because no one can tell a difference because they make sure everytime they hear something the volume is exactly the same. In a home test when you were comparing amps was everything exact. Was everything at the same decibel as it was on the other amp. Was all the dsps and everything set exactly the same. Were the speakers in the exact same spot. If it wasnt then you cant say if an amp sounds different because they were at a different volume then that puts one of the amps at a disadvantage. I will say that i am one of the people that thinks a watt is a watt. I am also in my 2nd year of college for electrical engineering, have studied amps before and everything i have seen even shows that a watt is a watt. I forgot to also ask did you guys do this blind tested or did you get the new amp which was either more expensive or you liked a certain brand better which then made your mind think it sounded better. Im just going on and on here because im starting to get sick of these threads. Even if one day it is a proven fact that a watt is a watt people will still think different and say that its not true and there will be threads like this. "Thats all i got to say about that." Forrest Gump.

#38 of 47 OFFLINE   JohnSmith

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Posted January 09 2005 - 11:05 PM

Only slight difference in watts- 60w v 70w. Audiolab has higher capacity power supply.
Tone controls on Arcam disabled, none on Audiolab. No DSPs since they're straight Hi-Fi amps.
Levels at my "normal level" during that time over the week.
Speakers in the same place, just swapped over amps.

Definitely a noticeable difference, and not just a plabebo effect. Noticeable at lower, louder and similar levels.

We both said there's a different in sound, that the Audiolab is far more detailed to the Arcam. Can't exactly do a blind test, as I re-connected it all up!

I guess pre-amps is another thing to consider too..

#39 of 47 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted January 10 2005 - 10:48 AM

Look if you are comparing $500 receivers then I will concede that the differences between them will be small. But i've heard enough tube amps and ss amps to hear consistant differences between the designs. To my ears SS amps control bass better than tube amps whose bass is usually rounder and softer. In the midrange I find tubes to a have a more dimensional sound than SS. Voices seem more accurate and real than SS and images seem rounder and more fleshed out than SS. As far as highs go you can find bright SS amps and Tube amps but what people call "classic tube sound" usually means slightly rolled off highs. Then there are Single Ended Triode(SET) tube amps which according to a test bench should sound like crap with all the distortion they produce but they don't. They aren't really dynamic though and really need horns or a single driver type speaker to get really loud since they generally are of lower power. This theory that a more powerful amp might seem to sound better is false since I went from a 200wpc Aragon SS amp to a 45wpc tube integrated to a 100wpc stereo tube amp to now a "mighty" 30wpc tube monoblocks in my 2-channel system. I'd love hear how why my 30wpc tube amps will play as loud as a 200wpc SS amp and my 45wpc tube integrated wouldn't since according to some people here that a watt is a watt. Look i'm not a DIY kind of guy or a tinkerer so if tubes didn't sound better to me I wouldn't put up with the extra fuss that comes with tubes.

#40 of 47 OFFLINE   John-Tompkins

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Posted January 11 2005 - 12:22 AM

Quote:
Let's say you put a nice 7 channel amp into the equation with the Denon. How would the Denon 5805 compare with mid to high end seperates like the B&K Ref. 50S2, Anthem AVM 30, Anthem Statement D1, Parasound C1 and C2, Classe SSP300, Krell, etc? I just think The Denon with its Auto EQ/Auto Cal will sound just as good or even better plus it is a whole lot more flexible over any pre/pro which is outdated.


The originator of the thread has stated a preference to discuss the merits of the denon 5805 as a stand-alone processor compared to other "seperate" processors..

How come every one of these topics on htf turns into an "all amps sound the same" thread.

Imo, the Denon 5805 as a processor is every bit as good if not better then most stand-alone processors of comparable price, PLUS you get more/newer features to boot ...just think of the internal amps as a "bonus"





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