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Thread: Do amp's color sound??

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    HDJ Platinum Club Member AVJeff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

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    Quote Originally Posted by caliberconst. View Post
    Jeff you make it sound as if the power just comes in from an outlet and basically goes out to the speakers. You are telling me there is NOTHING that you can put in an amp between the power supply and the terminals that will "color" the sound.

    BTW I could not agree with you more about the Maggies and Klipsch on an Onkyo avr comparison from a power stand point, but again is as if you are only talking about having sufficient power delivered to the speakers, and I don't see how that proves that amps do not color sound???
    No what I was trying to say is that a well designed amp should NOT color the sound. If it does then it is not a good design IMHO. It should amplify the signal imparting no sonic signature of it's own. Also, if an amp is altering the signal in such a way as to color the sound then it could be measured. If it can't be measured then it can't be heard. Human hearing is just not that good.

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    You can't take any one component and single it out and say "if it does such and such to the signal it sucks and isn't accurate". Because as has been proven time and time again trying to "recreate" live sounds made with 50 bows, 200 strings, 50 lips, 230 valves, 20 percussive instuments etc etc etc is not a "science" we are anywhere near licking.

    The counter emf induced current in a speaker hitting the final stage of an eletronic amp sound very different from the same current hitting a tube amp, yet many people find electronic amps to sound inferior. Does this mean that less perfection in the signal path can actually enhance perceived sound quality? Of course it can.
    Quote Originally Posted by audioholicjeff View Post
    No what I was trying to say is that a well designed amp should NOT color the sound. If it does then it is not a good design IMHO. It should amplify the signal imparting no sonic signature of it's own. Also, if an amp is altering the signal in such a way as to color the sound then it could be measured. If it can't be measured then it can't be heard. Human hearing is just not that good.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by audioholicjeff View Post
    No what I was trying to say is that a well designed amp should NOT color the sound. If it does then it is not a good design IMHO.
    But why would this apply to amps alone? If the amp is required to produce uncolored sound, then all of the audio chain should be required the same: source, pre/pro, amp, and speakers (I would add cables, but you already believe they're neutral ). Following that logic, a speaker that alters sound and imparts its sonic signature to it is a badly or poorly designed speaker. Btw, speakers' timber can't be measured that I know of*, but it can pretty obviously be heard. After all, "not everything that counts can be measured, and not all that can be measured counts"

    * Correct if I'm wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by david_b View Post
    Because as has been proven time and time again trying to "recreate" live sounds made with 50 bows, 200 strings, 50 lips, 230 valves, 20 percussive instuments etc etc etc is not a "science" we are anywhere near licking.
    Most definitely.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by ev666il View Post
    But why would this apply to amps alone? If the amp is required to produce uncolored sound, then all of the audio chain should be required the same: source, pre/pro, amp, and speakers (I would add cables, but you already believe they're neutral ). Following that logic, a speaker that alters sound and imparts its sonic signature to it is a badly or poorly designed speaker. Btw, speakers' timber can't be measured that I know of*, but it can pretty obviously be heard. After all, "not everything that counts can be measured, and not all that can be measured counts"

    * Correct if I'm wrong.



    Most definitely.
    Your not wrong. A pre amp should also be neutral as should everything else in the chain. That is the whole point of high quality audio in the first place for petes sake right? Not adding anything into the signal chain and to reproduce the source as was recorded. No different than with video on a display. Yes speakers do color the sound and that is also the idea of high quality speakers. Not to color the sound. How many speakers have you seen advertise that they sound neutral? Is there such a thing as as a completely uncolored sound from a system? Not that I am aware of, but with technology today it can come pretty darn close I think. Today the weakest link in the system is the room and speakers.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Timbre can be recorded, and the sum of each part can be measured.

    Timbre is a result of several things, but sorry, cables are not one of them.

    If timbre couldn't be measured, how would we have timbre matched L/R with 6.5" woofers/1" tweeter to center channels that have 5-1/4" woofers and 3/4" tweeter?

    The overtones can make a sound better or worse depending on your taste, but how does an amp or cables add or subtract info from the source? As with any instrument, timbre is different, so the source's recorded timbre and the speaker's timbre are in play, as speakers are instrument themselves.
    Something' amiss.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by audioholicjeff View Post
    That is the whole point of high quality audio in the first place for petes sake right? Not adding anything into the signal chain and to reproduce the source as was recorded. No different than with video on a display.
    I agree. High fidelity is all about neutral audio chains delivering exactly what was recorded on the source. But audio reproduction is not necessarily about high fidelity, and audio enthusiasts are not necessarily required to enjoy a neutral chain. In fact, the success of Klipsch's reference line, which makes it a point to be as sonically characterized as it gets, proves that many people do enjoy a colored sound. Not saying that's my case. I just wanted to say that well engineered products aren't necessarily neutral: they are what their manufacturer wanted them to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by audioholicjeff View Post
    Is there such a thing as as a completely uncolored sound from a system? Not that I am aware of, but with technology today it can come pretty darn close I think. Today the weakest link in the system is the room and speakers.
    Again, I agree with you, although I believe there are neutral enough speakers available nowadays. Which leaves us with the room as the weakest link in the chain (also the hardest to get right, often due to constraints beyond our intervention).

    Quote Originally Posted by ckone180 View Post
    The overtones can make a sound better or worse depending on your taste, but how does an amp or cables add or subtract info from the source?
    Cables, I wouldn't know. They come in several materials, either singularly or combined; several gauges and geometries; and several kinds of shielding. I wouldn't know what determines the sonic difference, but in my experience I have never found two cables that sounded alike. Back when I owned inexpensive cables, I ran quite a few tests on branded cables I borrowed from friends. They wouldn't sell, so they weren't trying to convince me; I was alone, so no one else was there to influence my judgment; and tests were all run on my setup with records I was well acquainted with. I picked my likes and dislikes, and the day after I had my father test them without telling him my thoughts, to see if he'd come to the same conclusions. He did. We checked on the cable we liked the best, saw it was within our budget, and went for it. I've auditioned other cables after then, and never have I found one I enjoyed more than what I have (except for one, but it wasn't worth the price tag), the reason being they were too characterized and mine sounded more neutral. It's beyond me to explain the mechanics that determined the sonic signature, but I know what I've heard. Still, it really is fine if you don't believe me and/or disagree

    As for amps, I would say their innards can influence sound just as much as the innards of a source and pre/pro do. A friend of mine is very much into modding (used to be a DIYer), and we're in touch with the guys from Aurion Audio who mod players for a living (they often exchange opinions on various components), so I've had a chance to audition my share of capacitors, diodes, voltage regulators and the like: they make all the difference in the world. After all, each component has their specs: capacitors (the one linked is just an example; each capacitor has several specs that determine its sonic signature); voltage regulators (the 78XX/79XX voltage regulators commonly found in mainstream audio equipment perform 5 to 20 times worse than those I linked; just an example. Scroll down the page to see the comparative graphs and charts); diodes (again, just an example; IXYS manufactures a plethora, all of which with different characteristics. On my modded electronics I used ultrafast/soft recovery diodes as they are what I found to be the best for audio purposes)... even volume regulators influence sound (tried on my pre/pro). Last but not least, there is a plethora of IC Op-amps out there, nowadays commonly used in 90% of mainstream audio equipment including amps, and they all have different specs and sonic signatures. To be a tag along, the same Op-amp won't perform the same in different roles (Burr Brown's fabled OPA627 are good performers at the gain stage, but pretty bad as buffers, for example).

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Evil, I respect your opinion and appreciate your thoughts. If everyone agreed, why would we need forums?

    I work with electronics and electricity all day, every working day. My job is to fix problems, often requiring engineering to incorporate a better solution. I look at things from a different angle, because I see it everyday. 115V is really 121.6, or 118.5, 208V varies greatly and so on. This doesn't make the equipment behave differently if it is designed for these fluctuations. However, something very basic, such as an element, has an output that is directly related to input. When we add in electronic components, we can take a wide range of input and have it regulate its output to the element. We then get a very accurate and consistent output from the element.

    In all the above, not one thought goes into what type of conductor is used to supply the power as long as it adequately sized for the load. Solid, stranded, copper, aluminum, shielded, SJOOW, etc. Some of the equipment we work on is very critical to our clients to be very precise. If it were to fluctuate depending on the utilities power supply, it would change very frequently.

    Audio cables can benefit from different selective conductors like not becoming oxidized, or the flexibility of soft metals, the ability to shed heat of stranded conductors, lower resistance, stronger contact surface material and so on. However, some of the higher end cable mfgs market their products to be able to control the direction of electrons, handmade wires that influence the sound with the makers techniques, flavor of the month, quadruple shielded and what not. This to me is snake oil. I have never seen a way to form a conductor the restricts or impedes the flow direction of electrons in only one direction. Maybe? Honestly smells of scammery to me.
    Something' amiss.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by ckone180 View Post
    Evil, I respect your opinion and appreciate your thoughts.
    This is reciprocal, and I cherish the opportunity to actually have a serene exchange of opinions on the matter

    Quote Originally Posted by ckone180 View Post
    However, some of the higher end cable mfgs market their products to be able to control the direction of electrons, handmade wires that influence the sound with the makers techniques, flavor of the month, quadruple shielded and what not. This to me is snake oil.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you. There are several claims in the so called high-end cable sector that are just that: groundless marketing claims. I never believed cables could possibly control the direction of electrons: that's quite an imaginative scenario at best; and I never believed handmade cables could sound differently because of their handmade nature. One explanation I gave myself for these sometimes ridiculous claims is that cables' sonic qualities are much harder to market because they're harder to explain. As a result, manufacturers need to come up with this sort of dubious arguments in order to differentiate their offer and justify their list prices (which often range from unjustified to downright ridiculous). I'm also open to the fact that there may be a certain degree of malice on their part, aimed at selling overpriced products to guillable users.

    Quote Originally Posted by ckone180 View Post
    Audio cables can benefit from different selective conductors like not becoming oxidized, or the flexibility of soft metals
    Speaking of soft metals: I tried two of van den Hul's carbon interconnects, and I didn't like them in the slightest. Again, I'm unable to explain why but carbon sounds way too soft and laid back for my tastes On the other hand, the wire inside my Dynaudio speakers oxydizes with astonishing easiness (my previous fronts had been recabled, and I plan on doing the same with the current).

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    You neural/ neutral guys.. How do "you" know how it was recorded at the source.. 9/10 or more you don't.
    The sound is at the mercy of the engineer and whatever he is using... Or if it's a live concert.. Then things are effected by that.

    Everything is colored.. Live with it
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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Well, the best answer to your question I can think of is that I want to hear what the engineer or producer heard when they made it. That's all. I never said that other people shouldn't enjoy different sound overtones. I often enjoy more treble foe my rock, or run my LFE 3dbs hot for action movies. That's not the point of this thread, IMO.

    The point we are (neutral guys) attempting to make is starting off with a standard base, i.e. Neutral, so any changes are relatively reproduced. If you have A speakers (musical instrument) and I do, but different amps and cables (similarly rated power) we should be hearing the same thing without processing or room issues. Tweak away to get to your liking, but we would have a base or standard to go by. if everything in a system colors sound a different way, you couldn't have a standard unless every system was identical.

    Btw, I don't have anything against timbre, as that's what distinguishes every sound from each other, so I do LIVE WITH IT. Everyone does.
    Something' amiss.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Yes, unfortunately we're at the mercy of the format that the audio comes on, whether it be high grade vinyl, CD, blu-ray etc. and that is beyond any control that we have other than picking the highest quality format possible.

    I was rather wondering when this discussion would go "upstream" to the audio source material.
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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    NO! lol
    Quote Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
    You neural/ neutral guys.. How do "you" know how it was recorded at the source.. 9/10 or more you don't.
    The sound is at the mercy of the engineer and whatever he is using... Or if it's a live concert.. Then things are effected by that.

    Everything is colored.. Live with it
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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by GOS View Post
    NO! lol
    yeah I forgot the smiley

    just getting tired of the neutral mantra.. really it's not.. I'm a tube guy which I know is colored.. sloppy bass and dropped high frequencies.. I'm getting old so losing those high anyways
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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    cool!!!! I love this thread!


    Quote Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
    yeah I forgot the smiley

    just getting tired of the neutral mantra.. really it's not.. I'm a tube guy which I know is colored.. sloppy bass and dropped high frequencies.. I'm getting old so losing those high anyways
    My Sunfire is great.. Current to high and voltage to lows.. I like it.
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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    I am going to sandblast all the paint off my Emotiva and soak all my wires and cables in bleach and then I will truly have uncolored sound.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by audioholicjeff View Post
    I am going to sandblast all the paint off my Emotiva and soak all my wires and cables in bleach and then I will truly have uncolored sound.
    NOW THAT WAS FUNNY!!!
    Magnepan, B&K, Emotiva, HSU

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Quote Originally Posted by ckone180 View Post
    if everything in a system colors sound a different way, you couldn't have a standard unless every system was identical.
    Wouldn't the same apply to video as well? All TVs and players alter the image in some way, but they do have a standard with which to comply and they can all be calibrated to that standard to an extent. Then again, do we really have a standard for audio? In video, all directors work with the D65/Rec709 standard assuming that we would watch their contents on an accordingly calibrated set of equipment*. In audio, sound engineers have no standard to go by and no way to know on what setup the final user will enjoy their product; they just go with whatever sounds good to them, through their setup (being it personal, their professional studio stuff, or both). Give the same recorded tracks to five different sound engineers, and you'll likely end up with five different mixes/masters: which one would be reference?

    Sure, we can strive for a linear frequency response, the greatest ability to resolve dynamics, and a neutral timber - but all of those can be achieved regardless of whether amps and cables color sound, just like TV sets and sources alter the picture but can still be calibrated to reference standard

    * They may alter the picture to achieve specific purposes, but they would still do so with D65/Rec709 as a starting point. Therefore, you'd still need a calibrated set to see exactly what they meant for you to see.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    That was actually my point. Calibrated panels to get us a standard, really very close. Thing is you don't read ISF calibrators posting certain HDMI cable brands or materials adding color or removing tone nearly as much as speaker cables. Not sure why that phenomenon exists.
    Something' amiss.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??

    Forgot to add, but that didn't stop some manufacturers of marketing their HDMI cables to work magic.
    Something' amiss.

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    Default Re: Do amp's color sound??


    Quote Originally Posted by ckone180 View Post
    Not sure why that phenomenon exists.
    Bad marketing, I guess. I don't really pay attention to ads of any kind, so I don't mind what marketing says about anything - including cables. All of my audio purchases were entirely based on the ability of the object to meet my taste and budget simultaneously. That's also the reason why I never blind-buy (I'm not spending money on something that may or may not meet my taste; either I know for sure or I do without).

    Besides, HDMI cables act in the digital domain whereas interconnects and speaker wire act in the analog domain. HDMI marketing falls in the malicious category. Or pride of ownership.

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