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? for Soundhound re power amps

Discussion in 'Amplifiers & Receivers' started by 2chnfornow, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    I read with great interest your post regarding balanced/differential
    amps and their distortion spectra.

    My question is how audible is this in real world listing conditions.

    I am in the process of purchasing my first pair of semi-large towers.

    I am spending as much as possible on the speakers and as much as left
    over on the amp.

    Based on your post debunking the marketing hype of
    differential/balanced amps vs. single ended, how significant are the
    real world in room differences.

    I am considering an Emotiva UPA-2 which is advertised as a differential

    Would I be better off looking for a similar (probably used) single
    ended design, or am I just being audiophile anal.
  2. soundhound

    soundhound Well-Known Member

    It all depends on how critical your ears are, the quality of your speakers, the associated electronics, and room acoustics (and of course budget). If your demands and associated equipment are average and you haven't spent much time training your ears by listening to top notch gear, then you might not notice the difference between a differential and a single ended power amplifier. Its one of those things that if you haven't heard any better, then you would never notice that anything was missing.

    If you had the two types in front of you to compare, depending on your speakers and room, you might still not hear a difference. But then again, the difference might be very obvious to you; some people are more sensitive to these things than others. As an example, for some reason, it takes a really crappy mp3 encoded file for me to cringe, but electronics which are anything but smooth is like fingernails on a chalkboard to my ears (or listening to Sarah Palin speak :angry-banghead: ). Speakers have to be very neutral or I can't stand to listen to them in any situation other than background music.

    Generally, I would say that if you don't have to break the bank, I would seek out those amplifiers which are single ended over differential ones. Better yet, you might consider a good tube amplifier if its in your price range.

    In the end, you have to listen with your own ears, and listen to as wide a range of gear you can in all price brackets. Listen to the really good stuff like the best speakers a dealer has with good tube amplification. That will give you an upper level reference. As you go down in price, note what differences you hear, and what you don't hear.

    Of course, the music you like to listen to also impacts heavily on all of this. If you like jazz and classical, these sonic differences are more important than if you listen to loud, compressed rock. You'll likely notice more subtle sonic differences with a solo violin than with a screaming electric guitar.
  3. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    Thanks for your response. I am not critically trained either in musicianship nor critical listening. I have not had the chance to critically audition truly high end gear.

    The reason I am asking this question is that i am upgrading from a pair of Mackie HR-824's to a pair of Legacy Classic HD's.

    Because I have been using active speakers, a separate amp has not been an issue.

    My listening room is small and untreated, as I live in a studio apartment.

    The problem is auditioning high end tube gear vs. high end ss gear with high end speakers in a truly meaningful manner.

    In my experience with high end retailers, you listen to the systems they have set up to demo. Unfortunately swapping this ss pre/pwr amp for that tube pre/pwr amp is not an option. Especially if you are only interested in speakers.

    The speakers that I have auditioned thus far have been driven by a combination of ss and tubes, regardless of the retailer.

    I have $4000 for the speakers and less than $500 for the power amp. Should I reconsider the speaker to amp ratio?
  4. soundhound

    soundhound Well-Known Member

    With $4000 speakers, I would up the amount given to the power amp a bit (unless you can buy something good used).
  5. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    Anything that goes to up the amp $ must come from the speaker budget. What would you define as a good used amp for $500 or less that would be audibly better than the Emotiva for $330.
  6. Rope

    Rope Well-Known Member Famous

    Since the impedance of your speakers is 4-Ohms, you'll need to acquire an amplifier that is stable at the impedance, or better yet, 2-Ohms. I'm unable to locate an impedance curve for the Legacy speakers you're contemplating, although I'd dare bet they'll function better with a good, stable amplifier.

    A used amplifer, or "B" stock from Classic Audio Parts, such as the ATI AT-1800, or 1500 could be the answer for your $500.00 budget.

    I own an ATI differential amp (AT2000), which replaced a Bryston 5B-ST. I do not have the trained listening skills that SH and other posses. I do not, or cannot differentiate between the two amplifiers. I'm driving PMC OB1's rated at 6-Ohms.

  7. Rope

    Rope Well-Known Member Famous

    Here's a "B" stock AT1800 (Classic Audio Parts, which is ATI) listed for $725.00. Make an offer of $500.00


    My posts are not an attempt to trump or discredit Soundhound in any fashion. He's forgotten more about audio and amplification than I will ever know.

  8. Razz

    Razz Well-Known Member

    I want to agree with SH and Rope....

    I had the ATI-1505 and was very pleased/impressed with it. Very impressed. Actually, I still own it and am holding it for my "2nd" system.
  9. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    I have always heard good reviews about ATI, although I have also heard good reviews regarding Emotiva. Given the price differential and my budget, Emotiva seems the logical choice price wise.

    Unfortunately I am an Audio*****, and so the decisions are never simple.
  10. Rope

    Rope Well-Known Member Famous

    As a side note, SH knows more about ATI than ATI does. He worked there for a period of time.

  11. Rope

    Rope Well-Known Member Famous

    Are you able to decern an audible difference between your AT1505 and the differential AT2005?

  12. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    Yes I read that thread. That's a big part of why I respect SH's input. As a follower of the S&V forum I gather that SH is not only involved with ATI, but is a TRU industry insider all the way back to not only working for Altec Lansing, but having them factory modify his drivers to his own personal specs.

    How cool is that!!!???
  13. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    Also does anyone think there would be an audible difference between the Emotiva UPA-2 and the Behringer A500.
  14. soundhound

    soundhound Well-Known Member

    The Behringer is one amp which I listened to and measured, and it sounded probably the worst of any I've come across (with the possible exception of a couple no-name Chinese knock-off amps I dissected). However a lot of people seem to like them, so what can I say....

    Realize, you pretty much get what you pay for. There is no magical way to get 10 pounds of performance for the price of a 5 pound bag; something is going to get skimped somewhere, its unavoidable.

    ATI uses pretty high quality parts in all of its amps. The places where they "skimp" in some of their cheaper designs are in areas which would not directly effect sound quality, but might negatively influence very long term reliability (like using cheaper single-turn bias pots in place of higher quality multi-turn pots which would be more immune to bias drift).

    There are lots of ways that a manufacturer can cut build costs. Products made in China have a low labor cost (a bowl of rice per day......), but one of the more insidious methods of cutting costs is using knock-off counterfeit parts in place of genuine parts, or using genuine parts but using the lowest grade possible. The average buyer would have no way of knowing the quality of the internal build; there are many ways to skimp on quality which is not obvious to the buyer. One of the reasons that higher end products are more expensive is that they use top quality parts and metalwork; these products will typically last decades, where the cheaper stuff might give out (or the performance might deteriorate) in a few years.

    Like I mentioned before; unless you have done some extensive auditioning and have trained your ears to pick up on subtle things, you very likely won't be able to tell a single ended from a differential design. However, if you have the money (I wouldn't sell the farm however), I would buy a single ended amp and avoid the whole problem.
  15. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    Which leads me back to my original question. I have not done extensive auditioning, nor do i have a trained ear. I am an average buyer who would have no way of knowing the quality of the internal build.

    Is Emotiva the equivalent of a no name Chinese knock-off?

    Would I be better advised to find a used Rotel, Parasound, NAD, etc.?

    Should I re-budget a little less for the speakers, in favor of a better amp?
  16. 2chnfornow

    2chnfornow Active Member

    "The Behringer is one amp which I listened to and measured, and it sounded probably the worst of any I've come across (with the possible exception of a couple no-name Chinese knock-off amps I dissected). However a lot of people seem to like them, so what can I say...."

    I would very much like to hear what you have to say. You have both listened to and measured this amp. Seems like the solid basics of a review to me.
  17. jamhead

    jamhead Well-Known Member

    I ended up with an ATI 1802 for my Dyn Contours. I chose ATI due to their stability at low impedences; plenty of power; low distortion; and very quiet background. It was also an economic decision.

    So far, I'm happy with the purchase. We'll see over time.....
  18. Flint

    Flint "Do you know who I am?" Superstar

    I have the A500 and use it quite a bit for non-critical stuff. It is a very amazing $190 amp, but it is not a viable replacement for a good $800 amp and it cannot touch a great $2000 amp.

    I am convinced, however, the Behringer A500 is audibly superior to most mass-market receivers' amp sections. I've heard multi-thousand dollar receivers with worse amps than the A500.

    It is all relative. My favorite midrange amp is the Parasound Halo A23 or A21.
  19. soundhound

    soundhound Well-Known Member

    I've not had a lot of experience with Emovita, but judging by every amplifier I've listened to, measured, and dissected over the years, I'll have to state again: you get what you pay for.

    Rotel, Parasound and NAD are solid brands, with Parasound being my pick, mostly based on the reputation of the designer and having had them on the operating table. The build quality is good, but again, you do get what you pay for, whether its amplifiers or toasters. Better components and build quality costs additional money, and that just can't be cheated.
  20. DIYer

    DIYer Well-Known Member Famous

    If you don't mind taking the risk, used amp may fit your need.

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