W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Amp read - All amps sound the same: Richard Clark Amplifier Challenge

Read here:

Points of interest:

"as long as a modern audio amplifier is operated within its linear range (below clipping), the differences between amps are inaudible to the human ear."

"Richard Clark says over a couple thousand people have taken the test, and nobody has passed."

Of course, this is assuming everything else is the same (capacitor/resistor values since they affect EQ and power, and perhaps the parts must be of decent quality), so the only thing that's changed is the amp ic.

But of course, it's usually the other parts (and more often than not, the sound signature) that results in the audible difference. That's how a $100 DAC/AMP and a $600 one can use the same ICs.

Plus furthermore:

"In the real world people use amps in the clipping zone, and the test does not cover that situation."

I concur with that. Although I dunno if "clipping" is the technically correct term to use, using underpowered parts do lead to audible loss of bass. Because bass note signals eat a few times as much current compared to higher frequency notes. Also, it's possible to use low power amps to drive high-power speakers with minimal sound quality issues so it's not a big problem.

"Do the results indicate I should buy the cheapest amp?
No. You should buy the best amplifier for your purpose. Some of the factors to consider are: reliability, build quality, cooling performance, flexibility, quality of mechanical connections, reputation of manufacturer, special features, size, weight, aesthetics, and cost. Buying the cheapest amplifier will likely get you an unreliable amplifier that is difficult to use and might not have the needed features. The only factor that this test indicates you can ignore is sound quality below clipping."

While this read isn't telling you to get the cheapest amp because (see previous statement), the fact that all amps sound the same ceteris paribus is interesting.

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