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#96215 - 05/25/05 01:25 PM Choosing a new amplifier
TomMystery Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 4
I currently have a Rotel RC-995 preamp powered by a Rotel RB-990BX Amplifier and I am thinking of upgrading the amplifier to something better. My choices right now are the following: A Aragon 8008MKII or a Bryston 4BSST, I cannot audition either of these amplifiers even though I can get them for a killer price. I have forever been trying to read through reviews but I haven't been able to find anything that points to one over the other. Except for the fact that Lexicon uses Bryston technology, and the Brystons have a 20 year warranty as well as a extremly low THD of <.007%. They will be driving two Axiom M80Ti towers in a stereo system. Let me know what you guys think.

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#96216 - 05/25/05 10:35 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10363
Rob, there would appear to be a question as to whether there would be an "upgrading" in reality. If your 990BX is still in good condition you should be getting excellent results with your M80s. The 990BX is rated at 330 watts per channel into 4 ohms. Extremely low THDs are fine as an exercise in technological excellence, but what you already have is far below audibility THD-wise.
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#96217 - 05/25/05 11:57 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
NeverHappy Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 1424
Loc: Western Canada
I agree with JohnK. I think what you have now is more then enough but if are set on dropping some cash, for me at least the Bryston wins hands down. I have owned both and vastly prefer the Bryston line.

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#96218 - 05/26/05 03:05 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
TomMystery,

Brystons are very rugged and built to last for many years, although you kind of pay for the 20-year warranty up-front, given the Bryston prices.

Like JohnK, I really doubt that you'd hear any audible differences from your current gear. We (myself, other audio golden ears and Floyd E. Toole, did exhaustive double-blind comparisons of many solid-state power amps, including Brystons and even a big old Macintosh tube amp--it measured very flat--using musical material of all kinds and we did not detect audible differences as long as the amps were not driven into clipping).

Those tests were done 15 years ago or more, but nothing of consequence has changed in good solid-state design. Until someone demonstrates to me audible differences with music when all factors are controlled, I stand by our findings of those NRC tests.

Regards,

_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#96219 - 05/26/05 09:07 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
Alan: could you post a copy of those tests?

I would be interested in seeing it.
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#96220 - 05/26/05 09:42 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
TomMystery Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 4
Are you saying that tests proved that there was no difference between the $1200 amplifiers and the $4000 higher end equipment? I have a/b'd some other amplifiers, and I have always heard a difference in the way that the music was played back, a different type of coloration. For example, before purchasing the rotels I had an ancient onkyo, and there was alot of THD at higher volumes but the sound was alot more "boxy" whereas compared to the rotels. The reason I wanted to upgrade was because I have been able to audition the bryston and compare it to the amplifier I have now, by bringing my amplifier to the listening room at a local dealer, and the bryston sounded alot more crisp and neutral then the rotels. An overall cleaner sound. My friend has a pair of Aragon 4004mkII and they sound cleaner as well. I suppose my question is what is probably better for me to buy. At the moment I am probably opting for the Bryston, because I have had a chance to compare it with my rotel and I know how it sounds. The 8008MKII on the other hand is a bit of unknown territory.

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#96221 - 05/26/05 10:14 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
Tom: that's exactly what he is saying. The human ear is only so sensitive to distortion. I don't remember the exact numbers, but human hearing has been measured. Once you get past a certain number in distortion, additonal reduction simply can NOT be discerned by the human ear, even though you may be able to measure the difference with electronic test equipment.

That, my friend, is FACT not FICTION.

Maybe someone on the board has the human hearing numbers that they could readily post.
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#96222 - 05/26/05 10:45 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10363
Bernard, again we run into the old problem that impressions formed from informal listening may not reflect reality. In a presentation to an AES meeting on the necessity of carefully controlled blind testing, Dr. Toole emphasized the point with the comment that "If you can see what you're listening to, you can't hear it". Alan has simply described what we've learned(at least those of us willing to learn)about amplifiers. If you haven't studied it before you may find the Stereo Review amplifier blind test report to be informative. Note among other items that a correctly designed $12,000 pair of tube amplifiers(i.e. they didn't have a flawed "tube sound")were indistinguishable from the $220 Pioneer receiver, as was the $2,000 Mark Levinson. It's also notable how the clear differences reported before the blind sessions began disappeared once the participants actually had to "trust their ears".
_________________________
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#96223 - 05/26/05 11:44 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
In reply to:

I have a/b'd some other amplifiers, and I have always heard a difference in the way that the music was played back, a different type of coloration. For example, before purchasing the rotels I had an ancient onkyo, and there was alot of THD at higher volumes but the sound was alot more "boxy" whereas compared to the rotels.


Strange that you bring out the term THD immediately... that's a measurement, not a subjective term like "noise." Much like upon listening to a car driving past, I'd say an engine was making lifter noise, not that the oil pressure sounded to be 220 kilopascals.

And no, I'm not saying you didn't hear a difference, but unless you compare apples and apples, and match all the levels before testing, it's not an accurate side-by-side. For instance, in blind testing, if you set it up so the box store receiver plays louder, most humans will choose it as the better sounding source.

To quote Ministry "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Taste"

Bren R.

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#96224 - 05/26/05 11:45 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3875
Loc: Up yonder
Alan’s referring strictly to amps, correct? That I buy, but if you start bringing pre-amps and other gear that can screw with the source signal prior to amplification, I would be prone to disagreement.
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