is there a way to rank multi channel amps?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Geno, Aug 19, 2002.

  1. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    I have a b&k 5 channel but could have saved alot of $$ if I would have gone with the Parasound. what I wanted to know was, is there a way to put each amp in its rank according to value, price and sound output. now I know once you get past a certain point, most rankings will be opinions but it would be good to see exactly what I (anyone) could upgrade to from what they have.
     
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Well its mostly a personal choice issue. B&Ks are better mated to some speakers while parasounds are better mated to some others. Also depends on the quality of sound you like most. You might like forward sound or laidback sound or maybe neutral sound and will have to choose an amp-speaker combo accordingly.

    Personally I like B&K's over any of the mid-fi brands (Parasound, ATI, Outlaw, Adcom, Rotel etc.). They, for my ears, are more musical. But those are my ears and someone else might like the bright, lean sound of an Outlaw. Now this is as far as sound is considered.

    As far as output and build quality the B&K's are one of the best built products built right here in the USA. Recalling some of the old reviews of B&K's REF 7250 and Parasound's comparable 2205 I remember B&K being slightly higher current than the parasound. It almost doubled it output at half the impedance and also didn't clip as hard as the parasound. If you are interested I can dig up the numbers. As far as build quality the Rotels and ATI's also exceed their stated numbers so they are all pretty much at par with each other.

    So once again its up to your ears.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Geno,
    I guess it gets down to... How much time do you have?
    Have you considered the logistics of such a project? The 1999 Audio Annual Equipment Directory (the last one published before the magazine’s untimely demise) shows 206 amplifier manufacturers selling products in the U.S alone, with prices ranging from $169 to $62,500. This does not even count most pro-audio brands or brands and models only available overseas (we do have quite a few international members here).
    As if over 200 U.S. manufacturers isn’t enough, consider that most manufactures have multiple offerings – some as many as 12 or more different models. You’re probably talking about setting up a ranking order for at least 1000 amps.
    For starters, what would be the benchmark categorizing these “ranks?” Power? Price? Lowest distortion specs? Best S/N ratio? Individual listening tests on all those amps?
    And how do you decide how to fit all the different configurations - single, dual, 3, 4, 5 and 6-channel amps - into the puzzle?
    Then of course, any completed ranking would soon be obsolete, given the constant flux in the product market.
    Get back to us when you’re finished, Geno! [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Wayne, that was not so nice of you[​IMG] to make it so cmplicated
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Sorry... :b
     
  6. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  7. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    Well the way I was thinking about it was to first break it down into classes: a a/ab ab d and whatever other classes are out there. Im not looking to get this huge list together but it might be beneficial to those members who do not understand differences in amps. For instance: nowadays, I can find a 3000 watt 5.1 speaker/amp system for very cheap. Now I know that it is a D class amp, and the power rating is overrated, but if I was a complete newbie, how would I know that this system is not as powerful as
    6 monoblock 500 watt class a/ab amps? of course there are people out there already helping and telling others not to trust RMS values.

    anyway, all I was looking for was groupings of similar amps. if the "mid-fi" group consists of B&K, Parasound, ATI, Outlaw, Adcom, Rotel etc. How are these amps "better" than my Nikko Alpha II amp? I just thought it would be beneficial to let ppl know how many differences there really are in amps and what amps are the bomb.

    geno
     
  8. MichaelFusick

    MichaelFusick Second Unit

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    I would read all the reviews at all the magazine site archives, Like Hometheater mag, widescreen review, sound and vision, ect...ect...
    If they all rate an amp excellent performance and value it's probably a safe bet. One review I might not trust alot, but when the same conclusion is drawn three or four times with three or four different reviews, then I tend to believe it.
    I read about the Cinenova amp:
    http://www.hometheatermag.com/showarchives.cgi?12
    http://www.earthquakesound.com/cinenova.htm
    http://www.earthquakesound.com/cineova.htm
    http://www.widescreenreview.com/wsrm...=32776&-search
    and after a few more reviews I decided to check it out, and I must say they were pretty accurate descriptions.
    ALot of times you have to do some searching, and learn about the rating criteria for the reviews you read, but if you read enough of them, and you read other products and compare comments and prices and performance you can make an educated decision. Trying them out before you buy also helps. Besides, if your happy then thats all that matters, not opinions of the product or the price you spent on it.
     
  9. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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  10. GalenValentine

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    Most of the Home Theather and Audiophile magazines e.g. Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, and The Perfect Vision have annual recommended component issues that rate several brands of power amps usually in categories from A to D. Though, I will say that these rating categories are *not* the same as those used to classify a power amps operating mode e.g. Class D is used to classify a power amp as digital not as bottom of the barrel.

    I will admit that I haven't seen a comprehensive list yet. It might be interesting to compile one. Though I would be hesitant to put much faith in it unless each power amp was test in a variety of systems on a wide range of source material and in various listening spaces. And with a full associated equipment list.

    Acquiring knowledge sometimes takes effort. Reading multiple reviews isn't really that time-consuming; I've done it several times. There are plenty of resources online, like this forum and Audiogon. Heck, there are even two forums that I know of dedicated solely to headphones and headphone amplifiers! If the average consumer isn't willing to put in the effort maybe it isn't that important to them. Nothing wrong with that. And I can understand the frustration of trying to find information about a product few people have heard of because I've been there.
     
  11. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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  12. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    When reading reviews, try to read between the lines. Keywords like-but, almost, equivelent, close ,and certain phrases such as "what I liked most"," adiquate sound presentation exibited in all but the most demanding" etc,etc. Also reviews that decay into a through review of the CD/DVD material used for the evualation. When this latter happens, I assume the reviewer has totally lost any interest in the product he's reviewing. If any part of a review is to be believed, it should be glowing in the sence that the unit is excellent, avarage or poor. Unfortunatly, reviews seldom point us in any clear direction, and most remain very ambigious.
     
  13. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Some of the high end digital amps I've heard are easily in the league of class A analog amps (esp. in terms of bang/buck).
     
  14. GalenValentine

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    Hey Geno, whats with the attitude? [​IMG] My post wasn't an attack on either you or anyone else. It was merely my opinion.
    Actually, I might chose a class D power amp of the same specs over a class A power amp since the two are different designs that don't necessarily have *anything* to do with quality. Bel Canto produces highly respected *digital* (though they call them Class T) power amps from two to six channels. Tact and Spectron also produce digital power amplifiers.
    Thanks for keeping an open mind and asking rather than assuming that you knew what I thought.
     
  15. RichardMA

    RichardMA Second Unit

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  16. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Also are you intersted on objective ranking or purely on subjective.
    If you choose the later then most mag reviews will suffice,but don't be surprised if you find yourself in a disagreement with a particular reviewer after a purchase, based on his review,but since we're talking about amps the chance is narrow for that.
     
  17. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    I wish there was too. I would be interested to know how anyone would rate Belcanto, Anthem, Bryston, and Simaudio amps.[​IMG]
     
  18. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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  19. GalenValentine

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    Geno, thats cool. [​IMG]
    I'll try to be less touchy in the future. When I got into high-end audio as a hobby over two years ago I found the Audiogon web-site. The threads there tended to degenerate into name-calling and flame wars; sort of like what I hear Audio Asylum is apparently all about. Not my cup of tea. It got to the point that I stopped posting and reduced my visitations to a minimum. It has since gotten alot better but I am still a bit sensitive. Anyway, sorry to get off topic.
     
  20. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    GalenValentine, thanks.
    Actually, Audiogon is where I bought my first multi channel amp. but I came here to HTF for reviews and opinions before purchasing. I really like this forum and Ive learned so much. If you read Mr. Epstein's post regarding etiquette, name-calling and flaming is not tollerated here. I just wanted to make sure you felt welcome.
     

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