Need advice for new amp

Posted by: cpplain

Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 12:33 AM

Hello, all. I'm a fairly new Axiom owner and am posting to the forum for the first time.

I purchased a pair of M60s in February 2012. They sound great even running through my old, but trusty, 1992 Pioneer VSX-401. While the receiver is adequate, it's time to update to something with HDMI capabilities.

My original intention was to update to a mid-range receiver with pre-outs (e.g., Onkyo TX-NR818), giving me the option to add an amp at a later date. (Using a pre/pro and amp was an ideal solution, but I didn't think there was anything within my budget.) Then I found the Emotiva UMC-200 several days ago. I think this pre/pro is well suited for my use case and allows me the opportunity to use AV separates, which I see as ideal.

Now for the amp question: I'm considering the Axiom ADA-1000 2 ch. and Emotiva XPA-200. The Axiom is a $500+ premium in price. I understand the Axiom will be much more efficient. Other than that, is there anything else I'll gain for the extra cost?

Thanks for your time.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 12:55 AM

Christopher, welcome. My view is that your original intention is still the correct one. Unless you listen at an unusually long distance the 818 has more than enough power available for all safe(to your hearing)listening levels.

An especially good deal on the 818 is the factory refurbished unit from Accessories4less for about $800.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 11:05 AM

Originally Posted By: cpplain

Now for the amp question: I'm considering the Axiom ADA-1000 2 ch. and Emotiva XPA-200. The Axiom is a $500+ premium in price. I understand the Axiom will be much more efficient. Other than that, is there anything else I'll gain for the extra cost?


The Axiom amp is a much newer design than the Emotiva amp's. Emo uses class A/B amps. The Axiom amps are a new digital class, this is where the increase in efficiency comes in..

So far the people who have received their Axiom amps seem to be quite happy with their product.

You could aways call Axiom and ask Brent, or JC what the differences are, they would give you an honest answer.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 01:03 PM

I'm no expert but in uneducated terms, one of Axiom's claims to fame is how they dynamically apply unused power across whatever channel needs it at the time. If your fronts need more power and your rears are nut using it at the time, the free power gets channeled to the fronts where it is needed.

With this in mind, most amps/receiver's wattage ratings are stated "per channel" but are actually based on the box only driving one or two channels at that time. If nothing else, Axiom freely posts wattage provided for all combinations of channels driven. You can check out these numbers on thier Amp product pages. Much better peace of mind.

In your case, you are dealing in stereo only so all of the above is not as much of a concern. As John would point out, Unused power is just that, unused. I'd feel quiet comfortable with your choice for your needs unless you like it overly loud (beyond safe levels).
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 02:35 PM

Welcome to a fellow Washingtonian!

I love my Axiom system. I had been running M60ti's from a Denon receiver and then Onkyo 805 and recently added an XPA-3.

Honestly, it makes me feel better to have the amp, but I really just feel like I'm using more electricity most of the time. I rarely listen to music at loud enough levels that a difference would be perceived (I mostly use the system for TV/movies).

I would get the Onkyo for a few reasons:

- it has many more inputs and outputs. You might think - now - that you won't ever need a second HDMI output or 8 HDMI inputs, but you might be surprised.
- it has the widely used and proven Audyssey room correction. While it is possible that the Emo proprietary system is wonderful (or better) I'm just still skeptical about their software development.
- it has very robust and flexible Zone 2/3 support.
- it is engineered to access and be controlled by other devices on your network

You can always add an amp later, but it's going to be difficult to overcome functional or switching deficiencies.

Obviously, I'm one of those people that don't believe I can hear differences claimed by "higher quality DAC's" or such. Your ears might be better than mine.

Have fun!
Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 02:52 PM

I have an older Denon receiver (with pre-outs) and recently added an Axiom ADA-1500. I am indeed very pleased with the new amp, as well as my Axiom speakers. You didn't give any details as to your listening preferences or whether you will have a home theatre of just listen to music.

Based on your intent to buy the UMC 200 I will assume that you intend to do at least some HT listening. In this case you will need at least 5 channels of amplification. I have not heard the Emotiva amps but have no reason to believe they would be very noticeably different from the ADA1000. I do think either would be noticeably better than any receiver.

Going with an all-Emotiva package (pre and amp) may have some advantages in addition to any possible price incentive for buying both from Emotiva.

Enjoy your new goodies!
Posted by: cpplain

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 07:38 PM

Thanks all for the welcome and feedback.

While I'm not an experienced audiophile, I do think I have fairly discerning hearing. So, I still think I'm leaning towards separates. One of the reasons I chose to go with Axiom over other speaker manufacturers was because of Axiom's commitment to accurate, transparent reproduction of the source material. Not everyone agrees of course, but the consensus seems to be that separates are usually better at this kind of reproduction than receivers. (I'm sure there are exceptions, though probably at higher price points.)

Also, something that attracted me to Emotiva equipment is the company itself. Before I even heard of Emotiva, I was thinking it would be nice to find a receiver manufacturer that shared Axiom's focus on building reasonably priced gear with amazing tonal accuracy. Emotiva seems to be very similar to Axiom in this regard. I would like to continue to support these smaller, quality/customer focused companies whenever possible.

Per dakkon's suggestion, I sent an email off to Brent to see what he says about the comparison between the ADA-1000 and XPA-200. I should hear back soon.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/21/12 10:48 PM

Chris, it appears that nobody has hearing "discerning" enough to establish an audible difference from putting amplification in two or three boxes rather than one. If the amplification is done with audibly flat frequency response and inaudibly low noise and distortion, which is common these days in even modestly-priced receivers, nothing more is possible.

Of course there are numerous claims to the contrary(certainly not a "consensus" of the informed, however), but they collapse when put to the(blind listening)test. The classic Stereo Review blind listening tests stand unchallenged by solid contrary evidence rather than just stubborn disagreement. There's no magic to be found from amplification.
Posted by: cpplain

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/22/12 01:07 AM

I've seen similar experiments regarding amplifiers. I'm willing to reconsider, though I do have questions.

1. I agree there is no magic to be found in amplification as long as the amps under consideration have a flat response. However, amps will not necessarily deliver power cleanly at their limit, which can cause distortion. (I assume this would be mostly due to the quality of the components used.) How would one determine that two amps with 100W/channel ratings would perform comparably at any given output?

2. Don't receiver manufactures often compromise the various components used due to chassis restrictions and price point? Would most modestly priced receivers with a 100W/channel amp cary the same quality of amp components as a modestly priced 100W/channel amp separate? Related to question 1: how would one determine the comparable performance, especially at power limits?

3. How can it be determined that the audio processing of the pre/pro or receiver is flat when compared to the original source before amplification?

4. Isn't there a chance of noise being introduced in a receiver due to the close proximity of the amp and processor?
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/22/12 01:58 AM

Amplifiers sold in the U.S. are subject to the FTC regulations as to power claims and have to report the results after 5 minutes of continuous operation at the maximum power rating. The frequencies covered and maximum distortion level also must be included. Somewhat ironically, this is the only area of audio which is subject to relatively specific legal regulations, yet is often subject to suspicion by some who accept audible differences being present in even pieces of connecting wire.

When tested by the manufacturer and by independent testers, who almost uniformly verify the accuracy of the manufacturer's specs, the points you mention relating to frequency response, noise and distortion all are part of the procedure. All are typically at a level which allows for transparent amplification, with the incoming voltage simply being increased to make it enough to drive speakers at loud listening levels.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/22/12 09:33 AM

Chris, I do think you are reading to much into this, but if you have your heart set on seperates, then by all means go for it... I've used just 2 different Denon's throught the years since I got my Axioms and they sound great, play as loud as anyone would care to listen. Most likely if you did a true blind A/B test you would not see any difference, no matter how good you think your ears are. smile

With that said, I have also used many seperates, Emotiva (which personally would never own againn), Odyssey (one of my favorites), and Outlaw (currently own) and will most likely be my last amp.

The Axiom amps look attractive, but for the price tag I can't afford to get the same power for 7 channels compared to my Outlaw, and will put this A/B badboy up against them any day.

I would consider looking at their newly released pre and amps, and not focus on Emo, but that is just my history opinion. Or, she get a nice AVR.
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/22/12 12:04 PM

Since both companies have a 30 day trial, it may be worth your while to order both and make a decision that way.

As for differences between amps, of course they sound different; just because some people can't hear a difference, it doesn't make it so. All that matters is if you can.

There are many blind test proving that some people can hear a difference; for example this one, done with 500 people.
Even in the test JohnK pointed, there is a "small print" of sorts at the end of page 5 stating that the results don't mean that a particular listener might be ale to distinguish one amplifier form another.

By that token, I can suggest not wasting your money on either amps you're looking at; there is a amp - Behringer EP4000 - that sells for $380 and is capable of 1,400W into 4 Ohms per channel, putting both Emotiva and Axiom amps to shame (and many, many others, more expensive). It's got LOTS of power, it's cheap, and since there is no difference between amps I don't really see why anyone would buy anything else.
It can also be bridged, delivering a whooping 4,000 W into 4 Ohms!
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/22/12 05:38 PM

I was not satisfied with the way my Denon sounded vs the Pioneer Elite that it replaced, until I went with the one position mic calibration option, skipping mic positions 2 and up. Now I can't tell the difference.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/23/12 07:14 AM

If you are using calibration on either, then it is not a true comparison as you are manipulating the sound from the baseline.
I get your point though. Just pointing that out for the OP.

In the end, all we really need to be is happy.
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/23/12 07:41 AM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
I was not satisfied with the way my Denon sounded vs the Pioneer Elite that it replaced, until I went with the one position mic calibration option, skipping mic positions 2 and up. Now I can't tell the difference.

I should've been more careful with my posts... I'm sorry; instead of using blanket statements like all amps are different, I should've pointed out that:

1. In an ideal amp world yes... they all should sound exactly the same as the purpose of an amp is simply to amplify the sound. However, I don't believe we are at that point yet.

2. Amps/Receivers in the same class (or in very close classes) are very difficult to tell apart, or impossible in some/most cases.


Originally Posted By: Murph
If you are using calibration on either, then it is not a true comparison as you are manipulating the sound from the baseline.
I get your point though. Just pointing that out for the OP.

In the end, all we really need to be is happy.

And you are correct Sir... on both accounts; indeed, whatever makes you happy is a LOT more important than what someone else says, numbers, charts, tests etc.

I also believe that listening to music is far more important than what equipment is used, as well as that there many other components that are more important in terms of SQ than an amp in a stereo chain.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/23/12 03:47 PM

My brother Murph nailed it again. Have what makes you happy.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/23/12 11:01 PM

Okay, the posts from yesterday indicate that some clarification is still needed. First, the point has never been that there's no difference between amplifiers. I almost always list the requirements for audibly flat frequency response and inaudibly low noise and distortion when this comes up. If an amplifier doesn't meet one or more of these requirements it will sound different. However modern audio technology makes audibly transparent amplification the norm, even in moderately priced receivers. Independent lab results show the almost uniformly extremely low deviations from perfect performance that's found in these units.

I studied that 1989 Stereophile blind test which is linked quite a few years ago, and it's quite instructive. It's curious, however, to see it cited as evidence of audible differences when the tests failed to show statistically significant results. Stereophile selected a solid state($750)and tube($4900)amplifier "as different in design as possible" apparently anticipating positive results. The 505 participants in a same/different single-blind test returned 52.3% correct responses. This may not seem very impressive, but because of the large number of results it would be statistically significant if compared to 50% guessing. However, as Dr. Carlson and the two following letters in Part 4 point out, there was an inclination to vote different(62% of the tests with the same amplifier were voted different!)and since about 54% of the tests were in fact with different amplifiers(rather than 50/50 for a valid same/different test)this skewed the results and made them drop to a statistically insignificant figure.

Although the overall results were yet another failure to show audibility, apparently some claim that the fact that some participants scored extremely well(6 of the 505 scored 7/7)"proved" that they heard real differences. This isn't the way the statistical significance of blind tests works, however; in all such tests with a large number of participants a small number of participants return very high scores(e.g., some coin flippers doing 9 or 10 out of 10 heads), possibly simply by chance. If time is available, the high scorers should be given supplemental tests to investigate the reliability of the previous results. An example of this is found in this paper, where in sections 4. and 5. a participant showing significant initial test results failed to show the same after supplemental testing.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 09:06 AM

Yeah, but Yamaha receivers are bright. ::running, ducking::
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 09:21 AM

John, what I struggle with with your assertions is the fairly common report of people adding outboard amps of higher power than their receivers and saying that their speakers now have more oomph or that they're fuller. I fully understand the volume matching aspect of it and am a strong believe in the power of the placebo effect, but the reports are pretty common.

I would really like to see a dbt between a fairly low power but respectable receiver (say a midrange Denon, a 2311 or the like) and the same receiver with a big honking amp (say an Axiom A1500 or some big Krells) and the same receiver with a smallish amp (say an Emotiva UPA-2 or 5).

This would give us far more real world data than a _SINGLE_ article--and need I remind you of the difficulties of supporting oneself with a single scientific article on a subject, particularly when that single article flies in the face of other knowledge?

It would also be of more practical use to those of us who are not single guys with good jobs and more disposable income than we know what to do with. wink

So it boils down to this for me:

1. Does adding an amp to an already adequate receiver make a difference, and if so, how much does one have to spend in order for that amp TO make a difference?

2. Is the power rating relevant in such a discussion?

3. At what volume does the difference appear?
Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 11:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
John, what I struggle with with your assertions is the fairly common report of people adding outboard amps of higher power than their receivers and saying that their speakers now have more oomph or that they're fuller. I fully understand the volume matching aspect of it and am a strong believe in the power of the placebo effect, but the reports are pretty common.

I would really like to see a dbt between a fairly low power but respectable receiver (say a midrange Denon, a 2311 or the like) and the same receiver with a big honking amp (say an Axiom A1500 or some big Krells) and the same receiver with a smallish amp (say an Emotiva UPA-2 or 5).

This would give us far more real world data than a _SINGLE_ article--and need I remind you of the difficulties of supporting oneself with a single scientific article on a subject, particularly when that single article flies in the face of other knowledge?

It would also be of more practical use to those of us who are not single guys with good jobs and more disposable income than we know what to do with. wink

So it boils down to this for me:

1. Does adding an amp to an already adequate receiver make a difference, and if so, how much does one have to spend in order for that amp TO make a difference?

2. Is the power rating relevant in such a discussion?

3. At what volume does the difference appear?


How would such a test be set up? If the different amps were level matched I can't see how there would be a noticeable difference unless the chosen level was above the rated output of the receiver, in which case no one would want to listen to it for long. Then again I wouldn't volunteer my speakers for such a test...
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 11:39 AM

Aye, there's the rub. If the different amps were level matched and they were not above rated output, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Some say yes, others say no. That's my question.

edit: Cohesion, you seem to be saying the same thing as JohnK, correct? Within spec, amplifiers/receivers sound the same at the same volume levels?
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 03:07 PM

I would also like to throw in a lower model receiver, like the first one I bought about 3 years ago. From Newegg, then it was a $150 Sony 100 wpc 5.1.
Posted by: cpplain

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 05:37 PM

I decided to go with the Onkyo TX-NR818 for now. (Newegg has the AVR brand new for $699 on sale.) Based on my calculations, I should be able to drive my M60s to reference level with a few watts to spare, even in my large room. When I begin to add center and rear channels, it might be worth assessing the situation again.

Thanks for the input.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 07:44 PM

I think I may have missed it, but how large is your room?
Posted by: cpplain

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 07:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
I think I may have missed it, but how large is your room?


~5500 cu. ft.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 08:18 PM

Good luck, let us know how things turn out.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/24/12 10:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Aye, there's the rub. If the different amps were level matched and they were not above rated output, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Some say yes, others say no. That's my question.

edit: Cohesion, you seem to be saying the same thing as JohnK, correct? Within spec, amplifiers/receivers sound the same at the same volume levels?


I noticed a difference when I compared my 3808 with the A1400 in my small basement set up, the thing is that the difference is small at most listening levels which makes it hard for me to justify spending another $1000 or more for more power to achieve audio nirvana.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/25/12 09:43 AM

See, noticed a difference doesn't hold much water for me (no offense). Audio memory is ridiculously short. Unless you did a dbt, I have a hard time trusting anecdotal evidence.
Posted by: J. B.

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/25/12 01:42 PM

when i changed my 28 y.o. amp (Hafler 500) for new QSC GX5, i tried comparative listening for a couple of weeks and never heard any difference in SQ.

the only reason i bought a pro amp is $$$;
same specs and quality as costly "audiophile" amps, for a fraction
of the price.
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/25/12 11:01 PM

I have a 10 years old RCA receiver; I re-tested yesterday against 2 Emotiva UPA-1 monoblocks. At the same level and NOTHING else changed, the RCA is a LOT bighter nad has noticeable less bass.
Brighter meaning it sounds like it's tone controls are turned all they up... but they're not. The are at 0; there is a lot of sibilance and the bass is receded, it sounds like you need to pump the bass some to get the same level of lows that the monoblocks are outputting.
Anyone that is interested in a test is welcomed; the differences above are "night and day".
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/26/12 08:13 AM

Still not a double blind test, though. How long did it take you to switch between the two?

Additionally, I wouldn't count an RCA receiver as my choice in the test. Might fit Catbrat's, though.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/26/12 08:43 AM

17,000 posts, and I remember " Might fit Catbrat's, though."
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/26/12 08:49 AM

Rats. I was hoping my first long form post would be number 17000.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/26/12 09:38 AM

Woohoo. You wasted-er on me!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/26/12 10:19 AM

Not really, I just namechecked you in my post.
Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 11/26/12 02:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Aye, there's the rub. If the different amps were level matched and they were not above rated output, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Some say yes, others say no. That's my question.

edit: Cohesion, you seem to be saying the same thing as JohnK, correct? Within spec, amplifiers/receivers sound the same at the same volume levels?


Mostly yes. That is assuming we are comparing amps of decent or better quality and that have not been 'voiced' for other than a flat and neutral sound. However I'm honestly not sure that the amps in ANY receiver would make the grade. On the other hand I think it would be difficult to differentiate, for example, between AdrianD's Emotivas and my ADA1500, except for the power advantage of the latter.

We may have an opportunity to test this theory and will certainly share our results here if so.

Happy listening!
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/02/12 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Still not a double blind test, though. How long did it take you to switch between the two?

About 1-1:30 minutes.

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Additionally, I wouldn't count an RCA receiver as my choice in the test. Might fit Catbrat's, though.

Why? What's wrong with an RCA receiver? Either all amps are the same or not.
I always said that the closer the amps are, the harder it is to hear differences... if any. Some amps sound different than other while they may sound the same compare to different amps.

All I'm trying to say is that you cannot simply make a blanket statement that all amps sound exactly the same. If it were true, we'll no doubt have "commodity" amps by now.

I only wish someone from Axiom will offer a more expert opinion on this matter.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/02/12 09:52 PM

Adrian, if that's all you're trying to say, there's nothing to discuss: nobody has made such a statement.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/02/12 10:57 PM

Originally Posted By: AdrianD
Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Still not a double blind test, though. How long did it take you to switch between the two?

About 1-1:30 minutes.

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Additionally, I wouldn't count an RCA receiver as my choice in the test. Might fit Catbrat's, though.

Why? What's wrong with an RCA receiver? Either all amps are the same or not.
I always said that the closer the amps are, the harder it is to hear differences... if any. Some amps sound different than other while they may sound the same compare to different amps.

All I'm trying to say is that you cannot simply make a blanket statement that all amps sound exactly the same. If it were true, we'll no doubt have "commodity" amps by now.

I only wish someone from Axiom will offer a more expert opinion on this matter.


You're in luck. There was an excellent response from Andrew Welker on this very topic.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=385526#Post385526
Posted by: fredk

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/02/12 11:00 PM

Originally Posted By: AdrianD
...
All I'm trying to say is that you cannot simply make a blanket statement that all amps sound exactly the same. If it were true, we'll no doubt have "commodity" amps by now...

That's why companies have marketing departments, to convince you of things that just aren't so. SUVs and safety in slippery conditions are a prime example of this.

FWIW we do have commodity amps. They're called pro amps and the most recent generation of class D amps deliver a lot of bang for the buck.
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 12:02 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnK
Adrian, if that's all you're trying to say, there's nothing to discuss: nobody has made such a statement.

I must've misread then, for which I apologize. Honestly.

Originally Posted By: BlueJays1
You're in luck. There was an excellent response from Andrew Welker on this very topic.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=385526#Post385526


Great find; thanks for posting the link. Although it's not so much for my benefit; I just thought someone with more experience in the field and with a better command of the English language than me can explain things better. Andrew is spot on.


Originally Posted By: fredk
That's why companies have marketing departments, to convince you of things that just aren't so. SUVs and safety in slippery conditions are a prime example of this.

I'm sorry, but this comment is not warranted; I just post in this thread a test I did that has nothing to do with any marketing department. If you buy based on marketing don't assume everyone is doing the same.

Originally Posted By: fredk
FWIW we do have commodity amps. They're called pro amps and the most recent generation of class D amps deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

Again, in this thread, I've posted a question: why aren't everyone buying the Behringer amp that for a paltry $380 delivers no less than 1,400W into two channels and 4,000W bridged? Why would Axiom produce the ADA line of amps for a few times the price of the Behringer?
And most important... why are people buying them? You cannot honestly believe that everyone not buying a pro amp is an idiot, do you?
Posted by: fredk

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 01:57 AM

Quote:
Why would Axiom produce the ADA line of amps for a few times the price of the Behringer?

Not being an insider I cannot answer that. I would presume that Andrew's answer is at least part of the reason.

I know that several pro amps have been bench tested and shown to deliver. Danley Labs bench tested one of the recent Peavey class D amps and it performed flawlessly.

There are some legitimate reasons for not buying a pro amp. They are not exactly pretty and tend to have rather noisy fans that need to be swapped out.

I do wonder why nobody is producing a prettied up version for the consumer market.

Quote:
I just post in this thread a test I did that has nothing to do with any marketing department.

Fair enough. The only controlled test on the subject that has ever been done contradicts your findings. There are also a number of people that have attempted something resembling double blind listening tests that contradict your findings. What should I make of that?

Quote:
You cannot honestly believe that everyone not buying a pro amp is an idiot, do you?

Absolutely not. I do believe that lots of people have been convinced of something that is not there in an expensive amp. That is a very different thing than thinking somebody is an idiot.

I guess I will continue to believe that all competently designed amps sound the same and you will continue to believe that there is a real difference. As long as we are both happy...
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 08:04 AM

Originally Posted By: fredk
I know that several pro amps have been bench tested and shown to deliver. Danley Labs bench tested one of the recent Peavey class D amps and it performed flawlessly.

I do wonder why nobody is producing a prettied up version for the consumer market.

I'm pretty sure that there are pro amps out there that are very, very good, including the one you mentioned; I wasn't knocking out this particular type of amps... sorry if my post gave you that impression. That's why I mentioned that particular brand/model.
And, I believe there are some that fit your description for home use; I have a loaned one from a friend - ATI 1540, and it sounds pretty good.

Originally Posted By: fredk
Fair enough. The only controlled test on the subject that has ever been done contradicts your findings. There are also a number of people that have attempted something resembling double blind listening tests that contradict your findings. What should I make of that?

It's obvious for me that one should try if possible and do some tests for him/her self as any tests out there have a dose of subjectivism attached, especially when dealing with sound quality. Mine included; there is no way that you should take someone else words as facts.


Quote:
I guess I will continue to believe that all competently designed amps sound the same and you will continue to believe that there is a real difference. As long as we are both happy...

I took the liberty of highlighting a word in you above quote; this is exactly what I was trying to say but used different words (i.e. same-class). I have to repeat myself: one cannot make blank statement that all amps are the same, regardless of type, manufacturer, specs or price.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 08:08 AM

Now you've got my interest up for pro amps. Although with my setup, I don't need any.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 08:31 AM

Again, Adrian, we're all saying the same thing when it comes to competently. That's why I don't include your RCA receiver in my specification. I'm choosing receivers and amps that enthusiasts are likely to own; a midrange Denon or Onkyo would fit my spec just fine. Then using that receiver as a preamp for the amp reduces variables.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 09:55 AM

Originally Posted By: AdrianD
Originally Posted By: JohnK
Adrian, if that's all you're trying to say, there's nothing to discuss: nobody has made such a statement.

I must've misread then, for which I apologize. Honestly.

Originally Posted By: BlueJays1
You're in luck. There was an excellent response from Andrew Welker on this very topic.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=385526#Post385526


Great find; thanks for posting the link. Although it's not so much for my benefit; I just thought someone with more experience in the field and with a better command of the English language than me can explain things better. Andrew is spot on.


Originally Posted By: fredk
That's why companies have marketing departments, to convince you of things that just aren't so. SUVs and safety in slippery conditions are a prime example of this.

I'm sorry, but this comment is not warranted; I just post in this thread a test I did that has nothing to do with any marketing department. If you buy based on marketing don't assume everyone is doing the same.

Originally Posted By: fredk
FWIW we do have commodity amps. They're called pro amps and the most recent generation of class D amps deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

Again, in this thread, I've posted a question: why aren't everyone buying the Behringer amp that for a paltry $380 delivers no less than 1,400W into two channels and 4,000W bridged? Why would Axiom produce the ADA line of amps for a few times the price of the Behringer?
And most important... why are people buying them? You cannot honestly believe that everyone not buying a pro amp is an idiot, do you?


With pro amps like the Behringer they can have noisy fans because they can operate at very hot temperatures (especially when you push them). The fans raise the rooms noise floor quite substantially in a residential environment. The fans are detrimental to sound quality so most people swap them out with a quieter after market version. Most pro amps are designed to live with higher noise floor and distortion than say the ADA amps. With pro amps output impedance might be high enough to affect the frequency response of the loudspeaker. Or even frequency response non-linearities at increasing power output levels. Bench tests are really important for pro amps. It won't tell you everything how the amp will sound but it will indeed show problems. The quality of pro amps varies substantially in the market even within the Behringer line from model to model. Pro amps are definitely not for everyone and amps like the ADA certainly have some trade-off advantages over them.

Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 08:51 PM

OK now this thread is getting interesting! I really need to ask for clarification on something: is this thread about amps or amplification in general? It certainly seems that some people talking in this thread seem to think that these are the same thing. In fact they are quite different. Then there seems to be another misunderstanding - that "Pro amp" means the same as "cheap amp". I personally own no cheap amp but do own a Pro amp - a Bryston 7B ST which I picked up used earlier this year. I don't think anyone on here would call it cheap but yet it is often used in Pro applications such as recording studios.
By nature, the amplification built into a receiver represents an engineering compromise. To be competitive the receiver can only weigh so much, be so big, and cost so much. So the amount of heat that can be dissipated is only so much, and the parts budget is limited, and so on. This means that the amplification capabilities of the best receivers are simply not as good as the better separate amps. In fact it shouldn't be surprising if all but the worst separate amps are as good as or better than the amp circuits in receivers.

I certainly found this to be true when I compared my Denon receiver to my ADA 1500. The ADA1500 simply blows away the amp circuits in my Denon. No contest!

Comparing different separate amps like the ADA and a Bryston or Emotiva, however, would be a much more interesting exercise. However it is unlikely that a cheap amp would hold its own in such a test. Nor would any receiver.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/03/12 11:04 PM

Adrian. Even Behringer makes some good amps. The EP2400/4000 even deliver into a 2 ohm load. Their Inuke class D is supposed to deliver the goods as well, but I have not seen any bench test results.

Peavey's IPR series is another new class D contender that delivers. That is the one Danley bench (and torture) tested with no audible distortion.

On paper, pro amps have higher distortion levels, but I do not think that we can distinguish between the tiny amount of distortion a good pro amp exhibits and the infinitesimal distortion an expensive audiophile amp exhibits.

Both the Inuke and IPR are new in the last year or so and are very inexpensive for the power they deliver. I wonder if the Class D world has drastically changed?

I may have missed your comments on competently designed so maybe we agree there. I personally think that many of the newer receivers fit into the competently designed category.
Posted by: casey01

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 09:46 AM

Pro-amps are excellent value with lots of power and obviously , a great bang for the buck. I am using a QSC in an instrument/PA application, however, I really could never use it for HT because, as has already been mentioned a number of times, the fan noise out of these units is just too distracting. The models I believe most are talking about are at the lower end of the price range, however, if you want that amp to be quieter at the same or better power levels, you have to move up the model and price range with that manufacturer and because these pro-amps generally only are available in mono or stereo, with having to buy two or three of these higher end units, it would close the gap considerably in money spent compared to a quality dedicated HT multi-channel power amp.
Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 11:23 AM

For those who continue to recommend or even gush about how great these cheap "Pro" amps are, I have only one question: Have you actually heard one and compared its performance on real music material against a good quality separate amplifier driving good quality speakers like the Axiom M80's or LFR's?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 11:28 AM

AHA! We're back to my question. Double blind test.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 12:22 PM

Three pages full and no serious derailment yet. This is serious stuff.
Posted by: J. B.

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 03:07 PM

i used to have a Hafler 500 amp and ran it for a few weeks (or a few months, cant remember), and then i changed the amp for a QSC GX5.
then i listened to the same music as beforehand, and i was never aware of any change in SQ or whatever.
if there are differences, i could never hear any.
the 2 amps were used with the M80's for the comparison.

i'm talking here of good dynamic range music played at Realistic Levels (as if i was in the best seat of the hall).

when no sound is coming out of the speakers, i can hear the fans a little (measured at 1-2 dB more than no fans), but even with the softest sound coming out of the speakers, the fan noise disappears. so, for me, it's not a problem.
if the noise had been too loud, i would have just changed the fan for a quieter one or maybe use something to absorb the fan noise.

the reasons i bought pro amps?
half the heat;
near half the power consumption;
half the size;
half the weight;
twice the power;
very solid build;
quality components;
a fraction of the price of an equivalent "audiophile" amp;
6 year warranty.

at first i was looking for good quality amps, and after a while thought "wow, they're very costly!", even compared to 1000$ that i had paid in the mid 80's for the Hafler, so i had the idea of looking at pro amps and i don't regret doing that.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 08:59 PM

Originally Posted By: cohesion
For those who continue to recommend or even gush about how great these cheap "Pro" amps are, I have only one question: Have you actually heard one and compared its performance on real music material against a good quality separate amplifier driving good quality speakers like the Axiom M80's or LFR's?

Sadly, no. Damned kids keep sucking up all the money. Say, you wouldn't want to buy a couple of kids to fund my experiments would you? grin

The best I can do is Danley Labs bench tests. They are a credible source and have both the equipment and expertise to properly evaluate an amp.

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
AHA! We're back to my question. Double blind test.

Indeed.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/04/12 10:03 PM

I could have bought a new amp for the price of the Wii U and PS Vita I bought my kids for Christmas
Posted by: casey01

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/05/12 10:57 AM

Originally Posted By: cohesion
For those who continue to recommend or even gush about how great these cheap "Pro" amps are, I have only one question: Have you actually heard one and compared its performance on real music material against a good quality separate amplifier driving good quality speakers like the Axiom M80's or LFR's?


As per my previous diatribe about this, I did try my QSC amp(GX3 - 300watts/ch))in my HT system(M80s) and once again, because of the noise issue, it just wasn't feasible and as we all know noise levels DO affect performance. I talked to someone at QSC about this and they did admit amps like the GX3 or any models in their less expensive GX series, are really not designed to use in an HT application.

Since QSC, in particular, has many different models at varying price levels and quality including amps for pro cinema, the rep indicated that I would need one of their more upscale models to fill the bill which, in the end, would require spending more money anyway.
Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/05/12 01:55 PM

Originally Posted By: fredk
Originally Posted By: cohesion
For those who continue to recommend or even gush about how great these cheap "Pro" amps are, I have only one question: Have you actually heard one and compared its performance on real music material against a good quality separate amplifier driving good quality speakers like the Axiom M80's or LFR's?

Sadly, no. Damned kids keep sucking up all the money. Say, you wouldn't want to buy a couple of kids to fund my experiments would you? grin

The best I can do is Danley Labs bench tests. They are a credible source and have both the equipment and expertise to properly evaluate an amp.

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
AHA! We're back to my question. Double blind test.

Indeed.


I have two kids of my own to pay for and look after, so I'll have to pass on your very generous offer to double my fun!

Seriously though, from a value perspective a less costly receiver or pre/pro plus one or more cheap "Pro" amps are indeed worth considering. They may even provide as good or better real performance as a more costly, or even very high end, receiver. But until I hear one myself I will remain doubtful that they'll be near as good as a better amp -- whether "Pro" or consumer.
Posted by: cohesion

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/05/12 02:31 PM

Originally Posted By: casey01
Originally Posted By: cohesion
For those who continue to recommend or even gush about how great these cheap "Pro" amps are, I have only one question: Have you actually heard one and compared its performance on real music material against a good quality separate amplifier driving good quality speakers like the Axiom M80's or LFR's?


As per my previous diatribe about this, I did try my QSC amp(GX3 - 300watts/ch))in my HT system(M80s) and once again, because of the noise issue, it just wasn't feasible and as we all know noise levels DO affect performance. I talked to someone at QSC about this and they did admit amps like the GX3 or any models in their less expensive GX series, are really not designed to use in an HT application.

Since QSC, in particular, has many different models at varying price levels and quality including amps for pro cinema, the rep indicated that I would need one of their more upscale models to fill the bill which, in the end, would require spending more money anyway.


I certainly agree that fan noise isn't something I'd be keen on hearing and this is another argument against using them in home or HT applications. Are there any that don't use fans for cooling? And as another consideration, by the time one buys more than one (for multichannel HT applications) does it not increase the total investment to closer to the point where a multi-channel HT-specific consumer amp becomes a viable option?
Posted by: fredk

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/05/12 04:21 PM

Originally Posted By: cohesion
...Are there any that don't use fans for cooling? And as another consideration, by the time one buys more than one (for multichannel HT applications) does it not increase the total investment to closer to the point where a multi-channel HT-specific consumer amp becomes a viable option?

Yes, there are fan-less options,but that does add to the cost. Hmm, maybe between heat sinking and a requirement for better components to handle a fan-less environment that is one thing that drives the cost of consumer amps up.
Posted by: Hellcommute

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/05/12 06:32 PM

When buying amps (or anything):

Buy quality, buy once, buy something designed for what you are using it for.

No one ever regrets buying the best. Deciding what is best is another story, and why we are here anyway.

Frankensteining a system together to save a few $ will come back to bite you in the end.... just look at some of the DIY sub threads out there. yegck!

The fact that you guys are acutally looking at this as a viable option is entertaining.... but come on. You're scaring the kids. laugh
Posted by: Hellcommute

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/07/12 07:34 AM

Here is another option if you are looking for an unconventional way to drive a system to great power for less $.

Prbably a better result by definition. Powered Studio monitors. I've seen it done before by Ethan Winer of Realtraps. I've heard the 5" models and they play very loud and clean, and suprisingly low. The 8" models would not require a sub at all. RCA cables from Pre-outs and good to go.

http://www.mackie.com/products/mrmk2series/splash/
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/07/12 10:38 AM

I have the Mackie 8" models, but I'd still like an EP400 to accompany them!

Edit: I should note that they probably don't NEED the sub, but I'd still like to go an octave lower at times!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/07/12 12:40 PM

Oooops- too late to edit:

I didn't realize that Mackie came out with less expensive models. I haven't heard those; mine are the 824s.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/07/12 02:59 PM

Re pro amps, there are numerous forums online about swapping out noisy fans on Crown, QSC, Behringer ect....truth is, if you're looking at pro amp power, you'd likely be listening to it so loud you would only notice the fan on the very quietest passages. The other option is simply to have your amps in an isolated area or different room. Behringer's A500 is a fanless option as well.
Posted by: AdrianD

Re: Need advice for new amp - 12/08/12 09:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Re pro amps, there are numerous forums online about swapping out noisy fans on Crown, QSC, Behringer ect....truth is, if you're looking at pro amp power, you'd likely be listening to it so loud you would only notice the fan on the very quietest passages. The other option is simply to have your amps in an isolated area or different room. Behringer's A500 is a fanless option as well.

I have seen a setup with pro amps where most of the equipment is in a server-style rack (with doors etc) which was located under the staircase in a basement. With good isolation, there was no perceptible noise; but I thought the money and effort for the setup could've been used differently.
I found out that the love for pro amps is very strong :-).