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  1. #1

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    Thumbs up an amp makes the biggest difference, not source!

    ok this debate has gone on for longer than I've been a Polkie ;)

    I recently added a old Pioneer two ch dual mono block amp and i'm testing it out right now on my computer rig speakers.. just in case it blows up, I don't want it to toast any other speakers. These speakers I could have die and I wouldn't even blink an eye. :p

    Anyhow, the only thing I've changed this week is I added a big beefy amp. Let me tell you, even these crappy speakers are sounding decent.

    So the old debate of which makes the biggest difference in a stereo rig has finally been settled, it's the amp of course. :D

  2. #2

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    without the signal the amp cannot shine, you cannot be this without that. Everything in balance, therefore a balanced amp would be better, but better than what, well better than that, because we now have this.

    RT1--There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
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    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  3. #3

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    Speakers

  4. #4

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    The only thing that matters is the source. Every other component should get the f**k out of the way.

    Ideally, preamps, amps, speakers, cables, etc. should "do no harm." If a component has a "sonic signature," get rid of it.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    The only thing that matters is the source. Every other component should get the f**k out of the way.

    Ideally, preamps, amps, speakers, cables, etc. should "do no harm." If a component has a "sonic signature," get rid of it.
    Everything has a "sonic" signature. I guess we can all get rid of our gear and imagine what the music sounds like.

    Sure the end goal should be what goes in goes out. But in reality that is impossible. Even if you could reach that goal who listens in an anechoic chamber. I know I don't nor would I want to. The room and all it's furnishings would then "color" the sound.

    It's lofty to say no sonic signature, but it's an impossible goal to reach and we really don't even come that close.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  6. #6

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    ok, the source is the most important part in the chain.

    but speakers, imo, can do the most damage or distortion to the sound.

  7. #7

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    I'm ok with the "wire with gain" idea, but Early, wires don't move air. Speakers do. So the source may be key, but claiming that the speakers should "get the f**k out of the way" is completely ridiculous.

    Furthermore, I'd bet 95% of people pulled right off the street could hear a difference between any given set of speakers. About 95% could NOT hear a difference between any given CD player (at least without practice or training). 'nough said.

  8. #8

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    geez guys this is so simple, its a system of interdependant parts, by system definition no part then can be greater than any other to the system's whole, the problems encountered by the system will be systemic so changing any one of them will change the entire system.

    Or as MadMax says--everything matters or as I say you can't have this without that.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
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    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  9. #9

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    This debate is moot. You can have a fantastic source, a crappy amp, and the world's best speakers and the result can sound horrible. A weak source, great amp, great speakers....crap. Great source, great amp, crappy speakers....crap (sometimes). The point is that every piece in the "chain" makes up the end result. If everything is working well with everything else the result can be crap. In my mind no one golden part makes mediocre equipment shine. But sometimes even pieces that many consider low end can come together and sound great. My very mediocre rig very often sounds better than rigs on display at high end stereo shops when their price tags are many many times higher than what I paid for mine. The source, amp, speakers and room acoustics all play a part. Not to mention clean ac power. My two cents.
    SDA-1C (full mods)
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  10. #10

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    I say the heart is more important than the lungs. Takers? :)
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikezappa View Post
    ok, the source is the most important part in the chain.

    but speakers, imo, can do the most damage or distortion to the sound.
    The amp is what causes a lot of the distortion that you are hearing from the speakers.

    I think it's the source, amp and speakers
    Living Room:.................... Zone 2 (Workout Room):
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    Pre - Nak CA-5
    AMP - Adcom 555 (Main)
    Main - Polk RTI8**/RTiA5
    AMP - Adcom 545II (Center)
    Center - Polk CSiA4**
    Sub - Snell Basis 300:p......Zone 3 (Outside)
    CD - Yamaha CDC-555.......Def Tech AW5500
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    BR - LG BD390
    Monster HTS1600 Power Center
    Dedicated Circuit - (2) 20amp, (1) 15amp
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  12. #12

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    The point I'm making is that the source is called the "source" for good reason. Ideally, an amp should merely amplify the sound, not alter it. Of course, everything in the signal path alters the sound to some degree, but the goal should be to minimize these alterations as much as possible.

    The source is the only component that interacts directly with the medium of music, i.e., CD, LP, etc. and initiates its propagation along the signal path to ultimately create sound. Thus, the true role of all other components is to assist the source in relaying the sound to the listener.

    To put it succinctly, the source is the main character; everything else plays a supporting role. In other words, the source is king. All other components are necessary evils.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  13. #13

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    i believe it's true that all components play a part of the whole listening experience. without a source you have no music, same without an amp... to amplify that music.

    I do think that speakers color sound more than an other component in a system though.

  14. #14

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    The overwhelming sonic character of anybody's rig is the interaction between the room and the speakers.

    I can't believe you guys, with all your knowledge and background would even begin to argue about this.

  15. #15

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    I'm lucky. For me it's what ever parts make up a system that produces a sound I like. Anyone else that listens to my set-up can go pound salt if they do not like it.:p I don't know what some recording engineer was hearing or what he intended the finished results to sound like. So I don't attempt to emulate that, just go for what floats my boat.

  16. #16

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    Default Oh God!!!

    You just HAD to go there didn't you Al???;)

    All that you have discovered is what I have been preaching for close to 4 years.

    Lots of amplification allows ALL speakers to operate to their full potential so that you can HEAR what they can do.

    However, the amp should NOT be changing the sound. So if you put in an old cd & hear things you never heard before (backup vocals, instruments. etc) then you know that the amp is doing it's job.

    But if a cd that you use to love all of a sudden sounds like $hit, then toss out the cd. DO NOT BLAME THE AMP OR OTHER GEAR!

    It is because the cd was $hit to begin with & you are now just hearing how bad it is since your speakers are now operating to their full potential thanks to the increased amplification!

    It is very easy now for me to tell poor recordings versuses good recordings via my mp3 player going through my system. Most of the newer stuff & digitally remastered stuff sounds good.

    Quite a bit of the older recorded stuff that sounded decent pre amplification/receiver, now sounds awful. That is also true of the original cd it came from!

    But all pieces of the equipment are needed to get the end results.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    The overwhelming sonic character of anybody's rig is the interaction between the room and the speakers.

    I can't believe you guys, with all your knowledge and background would even begin to argue about this.
    Hey, George -- we're just "arguing" for the fun of it. If anyone is taking me seriously, they're nuts. :p

    Good point about the interaction between room and speakers. The room is important, of course, but we usually don't have lots of options available for changing rooms. Instead, we change gear.

    BTW -- all speakers emerge from the depths of hell and 'eff up the sound. Someday someone will create technology where the walls of the room behave like a transducer, thus making all speakers obsolete.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  18. #18

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    Ok Brad, whatever you been drinking, you need to back away from before someone gets hurt!;):D
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrizz View Post
    Ok Brad, whatever you been drinking, you need to back away from before someone gets hurt!;):D
    Nah, just bored at work. Is it five o'clock yet?
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikezappa View Post
    Speakers
    Yep.
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    Parasound HCA 1000
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    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    The overwhelming sonic character of anybody's rig is the interaction between the room and the speakers.

    I can't believe you guys, with all your knowledge and background would even begin to argue about this.
    You nailed it George!! The room is the most underlooked piece of the puzzle for sure. The best source, amp, speakers in the world can sound like crap in a bad room. On the same note...a mediocore system can really shine in a well balanced room. We spend way toooooo much time swapping out gear, cables, etc. & do absolutely nothing to improve the room.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
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    Extensive room treatments

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    ...Someday someone will create technology where the walls of the room behave like a transducer, thus making all speakers obsolete.
    You mean like Onsia? (avail at Lowes if you want to hear them) ;)
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  23. #23

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    The room is very important as is setup. I still have to make some tweaks, but I need to stop chasing my tail and treat my listening area. As for gear the weakest link will be exaggerated by the rest of the gear. Two great pieces, and one bad equal three bad. Unfortunately I have to do one piece at a time. Thankfully my gear is decent, and I will finally get to the room next step. I may even change rooms. I am hating the room I am in now:(
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
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  24. #24

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    Suppose you have two pails, one with beer and one with piss.

    What do you have if you put one drop of piss into the pail of beer?

    Two pails of piss.

  25. #25

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    I should modify my response as it was kind of misunderstood.

    I feel the selection of loudspeaker is the single biggest component of sonic character in anybody's rig. Almost ANYBODY, neophytes included, will discern a change in loudspeakers. The second biggest component will be the interaction between that particular room and those particular loudspeakers. Again, almost anybody can hear the difference between the sound of a particular speaker in a carpeted, toned down room, and the same speaker in a harsh, highly reflective room. Try getting those same people to hear diffs in cd players, amps, speaker cable, interconnects, power cables, power supplies and just about everything else audio.

  26. #26

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    the quality of the recording makes the biggest difference, good recording make sh*tty rigs sound great, sh*tty recordings make great systems sound like crap

    Those are the facts Jack
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    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

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  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosier21 View Post
    the quality of the recording makes the biggest difference, good recording make sh*tty rigs sound great, sh*tty recordings make great systems sound like crap

    Those are the facts Jack
    That explains why a lot of modern recordings and remasters sound better in my car. :D
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  28. #28

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    I'll go with:
    1 - speakers
    2 - room interactions
    3 - track mastering
    4 - mood/alcohol

    Those are the biggest 4 factors for me.

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinAce View Post
    I'll go with:
    1 - speakers
    2 - room interactions
    3 - track mastering
    4 - mood/alcohol

    Those are the biggest 4 factors for me.
    I think everything looks good - you just need to move #4 up to #1 :D
    Living Room:.................... Zone 2 (Workout Room):
    AVR - Yamaha RX-V757......JBL 4312 Pro Monitors
    Pre - Nak CA-5
    AMP - Adcom 555 (Main)
    Main - Polk RTI8**/RTiA5
    AMP - Adcom 545II (Center)
    Center - Polk CSiA4**
    Sub - Snell Basis 300:p......Zone 3 (Outside)
    CD - Yamaha CDC-555.......Def Tech AW5500
    TV - Pani TH-42PZ80U
    BR - LG BD390
    Monster HTS1600 Power Center
    Dedicated Circuit - (2) 20amp, (1) 15amp
    Ben's IC, Canare 4S11

    **Dayton and Sonicap Caps with Mills Resistors**

  30. #30

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    Speakers make the biggest difference if you're defining "difference" as the component that has the biggest variation. For instance, amps and preamps in the same class may have minor differences between one another, but speakers in the same class can vary considerably. Speakers make the biggest "difference" because they are biggest culprits for screwing up the sound.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

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