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Hi fjf. I asked for some opinions on alternative amps and instead received responses saying that amps make no difference. I understand that is what some people believe but I profoundly disagree with this as is not my experience. I don't want to fall out with anyone and I appreciate we all see the world ( and hear it ) in our own way. There is no point in quarrelling about it and I won't do that.

Perhaps in theory all amplifiers should sound the same but they do not. I do not know the reason for this but I have often noted it. my own amplifier gives an noticeably emphasised upper middle bass but it is slightly woolly compared with other amplifiers from the Naim whose base is leaner but tighter. There is a world of difference between every amp that Naim make and Linn's amplifiers. As I say I do not know the reason for this but it is plain to hear with even a casual listen.

I believe there is room sound - optimising software which does a pretty similar thing to the auto-equalisation feature you mention and I don't doubt it would be beneficial. However, having heard different amps in otherwise identical systems/rooms I believe my first move will be changing the amp.

I do not agree re your notion of the placebo effect being in operation here but I sense argument is futile and anyway I am not interested in arguing the toss about it ;) (BTW I have rejected expensive upgrades to amps in the past on sonic grounds so expensive is not always best in my experience.)

I am grateful for everyone's opinions and will update you on any progress I make. Live and let live is my motto so I will go ahead with my plan. if anyone is interested I will report my findings in due course. But I'm not sure any differences I hear will be believed ;)
I've written elsewhere about the rather idiosyncratic views of some of the TC people that post here, and I will just say that I am fully in agreement with your posts, Barnaby.
I haven't heard the Hegel Amps in question.
I agree with you that Nait is better for a Pop oriented sound.
My amp and pre amp are Parasound, the JC line, which give a great sound stage and plenty of detail. There is real space between the instruments and great Hall resonance and do not sound overly clinical.
Are you looking for just a power amp, or an integrated?
 

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I've got one. I've swapped in three amps in the past 20 years or so, and each of them sounded the same as all the others. (I checked.) That's important to me, because my system is carefully calibrated. I don't want to have to start from scratch every time I buy a new player or amp. Let me know next time you're in the market and I'll point you to some great deals on audibly transparent equipment. It's abundant and inexpensive.
I believe the man designs his own stuff...
 

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You can't improve the Mac's performance audibly. They are already audibly transparent with specs far beyond human hearing. You might improve theoretical sound, but only bats and dogs would appreciate it. Macs contain DACs that perform just as well as audiophile DACs. They've been specifically designed for music and video production and playback since the old Powermac days.
I really wonder. Do you actually listen or just read spec sheets? Mac uses crummy DACs just like every Computer. I use a FireWire connection from my Mac to a FireWire DAC and believe me, the improvement over the native computer DAC is not subtle
 

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There are no objective differences that can mirror the listening experience.

Measurements can quantify certain parameters of audio equipment and are an important part of designing and comparing equipment. However they cannot replace the actual listening experience. Measurements cannot be surrogate outcome measures for the sense of hearing. It is way more complicated and still not fully understood.

Just taking measurements is not a viable scientific method to completely rely on as unknown variables are not controlled.

In order to control variables including unmeasured equipment variations and the actual hearing experience much bigger studies are needed with enough power to give us a statistical result that can be generalised to the whole population. At present there are no properly conducted studies and probably there will not be as the financial implications are huge.

Blindly relying on measured criteria makes no sense as much as solely relying on biochemical processes or animal studies when a new medicine is put out.

Pharmaceutical companies base their products on large well controlled studies were variables are carefully controlled. These companies spend billions on these studies, hardly the realm of audio companies!

Telling me that there is no difference between amps or other audio equipment such as dacs (contrary to my experience), simply because measurements are in line with what is expected, does not make sense as much as telling me to invest loads of money on the latest cable made of unobtainium.
Couldn't agree more.
The ears are the best measuring tool around and the only one that matters.
It isn't necessary to spend a fortune. It is amazing how many people will buy expensive gear only to trade them in within weeks to pick up the latest. Let them take the depreciation hit.
 

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In the scientific community whoever says we know everything about the subject is dismissed outright.

I believe that there is no market incentive to perform 'state-of-the art' population based studies to validate anyone's assertions. This is the only way to ascertain that a hypthesis is 'true' with a degree of uncertainty (usually a 95% confidence interval is accepted)/

Engineering principles delved into the subtlest details can only lead to hypothesis. A particular hypothesis can only be validated by well funded large population based trials that are simply not performed as the cost is prohibitive.

Everyone is different and one cannot pigeon-hole someone based on preconceived ideas.

Personally, I am a music lover rather than a hardcore audiophile.

I love listening to music so much that in the past few years I decided to invest into hifi equipment. My ultimate aim is to listen to my music and feel like being in front of a live orchestra.

Prior to any purchase I research for many months about all the options available. My latest amp purchase took one whole year of research from various sources. My latest headphone purchase (HD800) took the same amount of time.

Transducers are of course the starting point of a system, as their effect on the sound cannot be undone (unless one contemplates modding). What I disagree is your point that amps or DACs have the same audible results. In my opinion, with first hand experience, there is an audible difference between different amps and DACs irrespective of the fact that the stated measurements, leading to the term 'transparent', are similar.

It looks like we will have to just agree to disagree.

At the end of day we may well sit next to each other in a symphony hall listening to a live rendition of Sibelius' 4th and agree that nothing beats it!
I couldn't agree more with the first part of your post. It is the height of arrogance for anyone in a scientific field to think that we know all that we are ever going to know. There are probably many factors that effect they way we hear that haven't been discovered yet. The measurements we take may not mean anything for telling us what is happening between our brain and our ears and our perceptions of music. Someone who can't understand this is simply incapable of understanding the essence of Science.
I also firmly agree with the rest of your post, except the part about "It looks like we will have to just agree to disagree.". Those that believe that take measurements trumps what your ears and brain perceive won't rest until they have browbeaten everyone else into accepting their dogma.
 

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Well, that is as far as I need to read, because the AES is a worldwide organization of recording engineers. They are the people who make the records you listen to and design the equipment it's recorded and played back on. If you won't listen to what people like that have to say, you aren't going to listen to anyone. You're just resorting to semantic absolutist arguments here and there's no point responding.

The problem with audiophiles is that they have some tiny germ of an idea in their head that sound reproduction is some magical process that no one understands- probably because they themselves don't understand it. But when you try to explain and offer to help them understand, you realize that they don't WANT to understand. They want to preserve their own magical fantasy idea of how the world works. It must take an awful lot of work to preserve misconceptions that vehemently.

It's fine though, because in discussions like this, I'm usually speaking past the person I'm speaking with to address the lurkers. They get it.
Well, that's really big of you to bother to spend the time disagreeing with idiots like me so that you may enlighten the masses that are receptive to your messianic message. Let me know when the Vatican is considering you for Sainthood so I can tell them to give you the thumbs up
 
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