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#150295 - 10/27/06 10:13 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10398
Mutts, the first point is that you don't have to expect "diminishing fidelity returns". There's very little correlation beween price and sound quality in audio electronics and any of the combos that you list should perform transparently for you without adding any audible sonic character of their own. The small differences in maximum power capacity(2-3dB)aren't likely to be a factor.

My suggestion, somewhat along the line of Mike's, is to first get a powerful receiver such as the Yamaha 2700. Try this first and you might well find that it meets your needs entirely, while saving a significant amount of money for something more important. If you'd find, however, that you'd want something still more for the M80s, you could buy a separate two channel amp or two monoblocks, and use the 2700's excellent processing together with its amps for the center and surrounds. But at this time it shouldn't be assumed that it would be necessary to do that.

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#150296 - 10/27/06 11:16 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13337
Loc: Iowa
My Denon 2805 by itself fills my 8100 Cu Ft room with no problems. Unless you have thousands to spend, you might be better off taking John's advice.
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#150297 - 10/28/06 02:55 AM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
muttsinparadise Offline
buff

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 52
Loc: Hawaii
Wow! Great feedback. Still digesting most of it . It's interesting, there seems to be two perspectives. One implies that there is perhaps greater musical experience beyond the $1500-1800 price range, while the other implies that there is little to be gained in musical experience (and indeed there seems to be a decrease in controller "extras" such as HD/XM,Internet radio, HDMI switching, etc.). Recently, I've been reading a research article on psychoacoustics and blinded listeners' preference for loudspeakers. Would anybody know a link to similar research comparing controllers and amplifiers?

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#150298 - 10/28/06 04:27 AM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10398
Mutts, if you're not familiar with the classic Stereo Review blind listening test on amplifiers which enraged some audiophiles, but opened the eyes(and ears)of others, you might find it to be informative(and somewhat amusing). Among other results, note that the $12,000 pair of tube amps were indistinguishable from the $220 Pioneer receiver. It's also instructive to compare the sometimes flowery language used to describe sound characteristics in the open listening before the blind sessions with the total inability to identify those characteristics in the tests. When the labels and price tags disappeared, so did the sound differences.

Nothing's changed; engineers can design amplifiers with flat frequency response from 20-20KHz and with inaudibly low noise and distortion levels at quite reasonable cost. When operated within their designed power limits they add no discernible sonic coloration and the answer to "How does it sound?" is "It doesn't" .
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#150299 - 10/28/06 04:31 AM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
DrunkenWolf Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 133
Loc: Issaquah, WA
Honestly I'd have to disagree with John. I have a Yammie 2500 and an HK 635 and I can tell the difference between the two. John insists that receivers don't change the sound, but I think he's confusing receivers with wires.

I've never used separates, so I can't comment on how much of a difference you could expect by going that route. I was considering it, but I decided to hold off. I'm certainly not missing anything by not having them. I can play the music as loud as I want and louder-I'm really only limited by the neighbors.

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#150300 - 10/28/06 07:15 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: DrunkenWolf]
muttsinparadise Offline
buff

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 52
Loc: Hawaii
I'm curious, DrunkenWolf, how would you characterize the difference? And John, I understand your logic, but to extend it a little, why even then purchase a mid-level Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, etc? Why not go with one of their lower cost models, which seem to have the same bells and whistles and similar power ratings? Should one assume there are certain elements of 'build quality', below which undesireable sonic character is noticeable? In a nutshell, "How cheap can one go?" And again, thanks to everybody - this is great info!

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#150301 - 10/28/06 08:23 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: JohnK]
Haoleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 1488
Loc: Maine
Quote:

Mutts, if you're not familiar with the classic Stereo Review blind listening test on amplifiers which enraged some audiophiles, but opened the eyes(and ears)of others, you might find it to be informative(and somewhat amusing). Among other results, note that the $12,000 pair of tube amps were indistinguishable from the $220 Pioneer receiver. It's also instructive to compare the sometimes flowery language used to describe sound characteristics in the open listening before the blind sessions with the total inability to identify those characteristics in the tests. When the labels and price tags disappeared, so did the sound differences.

Nothing's changed; engineers can design amplifiers with flat frequency response from 20-20KHz and with inaudibly low noise and distortion levels at quite reasonable cost. When operated within their designed power limits they add no discernible sonic coloration and the answer to "How does it sound?" is "It doesn't" .




Im not going to bother discussing why I completely disagree with this. But the difference I got with going from my old amplifier to the monoblocks im using now was more than noticable. I think everyone here can agree that just because something costs more doesnt mean its better. There are some very expensive stuff that just doesnt really perform.

Im not enraged that some people think all amplifiers will sound exactly the same when operated within their designed limits. Its more of a shaking the head and roll eyes that is common when I walk into the stores around here that sell furniture which looks like they bought at a garage sale in some third world country while also looking at the pricetag.


*EDIT* I would like to add though that in a way it can be correct. When I did try to discern differences between my NAD amplifier and an Audire amplifier to see which one I liked better differences were very subtle except for certain passages on certain tracks. But again, going fron the NAD to the Odyssey's I have now it was more than.. Ooh more air.. Oh and look the instrumens are blooming more. It was more along the lines of wow. Now I realize where the NAD was really running out of steam. Or wow Ive never even heard that before, Or wow that sounds completely different. Or holy crap! I didnt know those were individual bass lines!


Edited by Haoleb (10/28/06 08:40 PM)
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#150302 - 10/28/06 09:02 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
DrunkenWolf Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 133
Loc: Issaquah, WA
Quote:

I'm curious, DrunkenWolf, how would you characterize the difference? And John, I understand your logic, but to extend it a little, why even then purchase a mid-level Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, etc? Why not go with one of their lower cost models, which seem to have the same bells and whistles and similar power ratings? Should one assume there are certain elements of 'build quality', below which undesireable sonic character is noticeable? In a nutshell, "How cheap can one go?" And again, thanks to everybody - this is great info!




The yamaha has a lot of goofy DSP things built into it and when those are turned on I'd characterize the sound as 'bathroomy'. With the DSP effects turned off I found the Yamaha doesn't give the same sound in the mid to mid high range. I wouldn't say that the HK gave a better sound, but it does have a different sound and I preferred the different sound. I compare the two after having done their respect autoadjust options with the mic on the same speakers, but not a/b switched.

WRT build quality the HK has been nothing but trouble. I've gone through two refurbs so far-the third is on the way-and this is the last chance for Harman Kardon. They tend to be oversensitive to power issues when they work properly, but of the two I've had so far one 'hung' like a computer every few hours (or minutes, it seemed random and got progressively worse) often and the other turned off right after turning it on. In both cases they blamed 'shipping damage'. That said, the service for the most part has been outstanding-they are paying for all the shipping and this last run has been an overnight deal.

Feature wise I like the HK better too-but I don't like the DSP crap the Yamaha has. Some people probably love that stuff. The HK has per input upconversion (so I can upconvert my nintendo and NOT upconvert my XBOX) for component out, the yamaha doesn't. Not sure if post 2500 models have that option. But the Yamaha works. Working is a feature that trumps anything else. The Yamaha also has their connectors properly spaced for bananaplugs. The HK supports banana plugs, but the conectors are too far apart. The HK, however, is easy to setup without using the OSD. The Yamaha can't be setup without the OSD as far as I can tell.

The fact is that AV Receivers are DESIGNED to alter the sound. They won't all sound the same. You might not find that a 22000 dollar configuration sounds better to you than a 220 configuration, but I bet you could tell that they were different.

Also, if you are going from a super separates system to thinking 'how low can I go' then it might be time to look into other things that shape sound. Like the room.


Edited by DrunkenWolf (10/28/06 09:10 PM)

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#150303 - 10/28/06 11:15 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
muttsinparadise Offline
buff

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 52
Loc: Hawaii
DrunkenWolf, the truth is that I do have a little spare change to play with, even after expensing for accessories and room acoustics. But the money isn't burning a hole in my pocket. I know from my own history of hifi buying behavior that factors other than sonics influence my decisions; some logical like warranty and service; others less logical like appearance and 'extras' that I have no likelihood of using. I'm comfortable with this psychology, as I understand that they all contribute to the enjoyment or disappointment of the post-purchase experience. At first, I was confused by, for example, John and Haoleb's varying perceptions of the correlation between price and reproduction fidelity. But now I'm glad to have gotten both of their opinions - if there were no variability in our perceptions of this equipment, these discussions and this hobby would be much less interesting to me. BTW Haoleb, the furniture example is pretty funny - shopping for most things in Hawaii contrasts sharply with the mainland - thank god for e-tailers like Axiom!

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#150304 - 10/28/06 11:37 PM Re: How would you spend... [Re: muttsinparadise]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10398
Sure mutts, the requirements for amplifying transparently are well-known(flat frequency response, inaudibly low noise and distortion)to design engineers and are applied to even units quite modest in price. So, as long as a unit meets those specs no "undesireable sonic character" appears regardless of make or price. Unfortunately there're quite a few old audiophiles' tales to the contrary floating around based on perceptions not founded on objective evidence. Carefully controlled blind listening tests show that what is claimed to be heard isn't what really is heard when variables in loudness,etc. aren't a factor.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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