True or false: the bigger the amp, the better the sound

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by HenkD, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. HenkD

    HenkD Auditioning

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    Is it correct to say that for most full range speakers one should generally buy the biggest amp you can afford, because a bigger amp gives a better sound?
     
  2. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    False
    It has everything to do with build quality.
     
  3. Kevin_R_H

    Kevin_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    HenkD,

    I'm not sure I understand your question. By "biggest", do your mean:

    1) Largest size (H x W x D)?
    2) Heaviest?
    3) Most watts?

    Despite this confusion, my answer is the same for all three possibilities.

    Answer ---> "There is no absolute connection between "size" (or "weight" or "number of watts") and "quality of sound".

    Kevin
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Having an amp with substantial continuous power, inaudible distortion, and that's stable into the impedances your speaker presents is a good thing. Within the limits of your speakers, it'll allow you to play louder and cleaner. However, consider that there comes a point at somewhere around 75% of the rated power of your speakers, where driving your speaker beyond that will result in the distortion levels of your speakers becoming an audible issue. How much you want to spend for an amp that does this is entirely up to you and your particular preferences.
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    The answer is probably YES, if:

    1) The bigger amp has a larger toroidal transformer and more charge storage capacity
    2) Has better isolation
    3) Has more heat sink area

    But obviously the quality of the input and output stages matter too. [​IMG] Freq response, distortion, channel separation, linearity, etc.
     
  6. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

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    I say False. Bigger (more power, I assume) is not always better. Quality of the components makes a huge difference, and designers of such products have many choices to make about the sound they want to achieve and the economies they are willing to make to bring the product in at a competitive price. Frankly, there is no trick to building an incredible amp, or any other piece of audio gear when price is no object. But price is almost always an object, so choices have to be made. As a consumer, you may or may not be satisfied with the choices made by the designer. L

    Let me give you an excellent example: about 25 years ago, NAD was launched with a little 20 wpc integrated amp that absolutely embarrassed the separates world. The 3020, despite some teething problems, and its bigger brother 3140 which came a couple of years later (still only 40 wpc) are still highly valued today because despite their puny size and price, they addressed a problem ignored by much bigger companies. NAD all but drove the big Japanese audio cartels out of the separates business. The couldn't beat the NAD price nor match the NAD sound quality, so they lost the reason to be in the business. You may still find a few separate components offered here and there from the cartels, but they have no where near the offerings they had 20 years ago. They by and large retreated to the receivers market that they already dominated. Likewise, for those only in the separates business, it was back to the drawing boards to improve their products because NAD had embarrassed many of them, as well. You see, NAD made a better mousetrap by improving the power supply section and economized on the cosmetics. Competition is wonderful for the consumer!

    That said, however, if you had two almost identical amps from the same source, the bigger one will most likely be better (but not always!). I have seen exceptions!
     
  7. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Not enough information to answer the question. Are the two amps compared from the same manufacturer? Are they the same design topology? Same build quality? If not you are comparing apples to oranges. Generally amps from the same manufacturer will sound better if they have more power reserves and that assumes the same design and build quality.
     
  8. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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  9. Mark Sherman

    Mark Sherman Supporting Actor

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    I learned long ago that watts and size mean almost nothing. when I was big into car audio thats when it came to be. When My little ADS PS10 rated at 45 watts pe rchannel smoked and I mean smoked a couple amps that were twice the size. now when I say smoked I mean overall sound quality was better, bass mid range pretty much in all cases the ADS Sounded better. Why? it was built better it used better parts then most other brands. better power supplies caps, mosfets.

    The same thing happened when I was working for TAG. I had a customer of mine take home a 250 watt per channel amp to put p against his Acurus of the same power he said it was no contest. Why? its built better.
     

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