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Still peddling the same old crap?

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  • Still peddling the same old crap?

    Of course for years Stereo Review magazine lived by their stance that all properly designed amplifiers working within their power range sound the same. So much so that their reviews usually only had one paragraph or maybe two confirming that the amplifier under review sounded just like all the others.

    Stereo Review became Sound and Vision and is now a sister publication to Stereophile. I was looking for some info about an amp from just a few years ago and came on a Sound and Vision review of it, so took a look, and this was in the article:

    "Sounds Like...
    I’ve a deep-seated skepticism of reports of amplifiers “sounding” this way or that. Any competently designed modern amp, operating within its intended parameters, should be effectively transparent, at least until it approaches the limits of its usable dynamic range. (A big if, of course.) And the EA101EQ-G did little to alter my belief system.
    "

    and in the next paragraph:
    "Via my long-term, stand-mounted monitors (the long-discontinued Energy Veritas 2.3 speaker), track after track displayed no difference from the sound I’m accustomed to hearing from my everyday preamp and power amp—the latter rated for 150 watts per channel. Sure, the big power amp could play slightly louder, and the Elac’s stress signature when pushed well into clipping—a noticeable brightening that edged into “shoutiness” on high vocals, solo strings, and the like—was a bit different. But otherwise, it was a case of pick ’em."

    I wonder if it is an editorial stance that they are required to not consider that amplifiers might sound different?

    For what it's worth, the amp in that article (ELAC EA101EQ-G) is the same one my son uses in his system. I had that amp for a couple years and comparing it in my system to somewhat similarly priced and spec'd integrated amps from Emotiva, Music Hall and PS Audio, they all sounded noticeably different using speakers from ELAC, Tekton and Magneplanar.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
    Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
    Speakers: Tekton Perfect SET 15, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
    Speaker cables: WyWyres Diamond, Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
    Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

  • #2
    To paraphrase the Great Julian Hirsch "...of all the amplifiers I have ever heard, this is one of them!"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
      I was looking for some info about an amp from just a few years ago and came on a Sound and Vision review of it, so took a look, and this was in the article:

      "Sounds Like...
      I’ve a deep-seated skepticism of reports of amplifiers “sounding” this way or that. Any competently designed modern amp, operating within its intended parameters, should be effectively transparent, at least until it approaches the limits of its usable dynamic range. (A big if, of course.) And the EA101EQ-G did little to alter my belief system.
      "

      and in the next paragraph:
      "Via my long-term, stand-mounted monitors (the long-discontinued Energy Veritas 2.3 speaker), track after track displayed no difference from the sound I’m accustomed to hearing from my everyday preamp and power amp—the latter rated for 150 watts per channel. Sure, the big power amp could play slightly louder, and the Elac’s stress signature when pushed well into clipping—a noticeable brightening that edged into “shoutiness” on high vocals, solo strings, and the like—was a bit different. But otherwise, it was a case of pick ’em."

      I wonder if it is an editorial stance that they are required to not consider that amplifiers might sound different?
      Sheesh. Apparently that reviewer does not know that all forms of distortion are converted to tonality by the ear. Brightness is usually the result of higher ordered harmonics being generated, and is certainly a coloration! For the measurement bugs, all you have to do is graph the distortion vs frequency at 1 Watt and also -6dB of full power. If the distortion is rising at higher frequencies you know the amp is going to have brightness. Its also handy to see what the distortion spectra looks like at those two points!

      Any amplifier can be modeled by a perfectly linear gain and a non-linearity (which is a mathematical function) thru which the signal must pass. The non-linearity is the 'sonic signature' of the amp to which audiophiles refer.

      It really sounds like that reviewer didn't know what he was talking about, or was constrained by the possible editorial stance as you suggest.

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