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How far have ss amps really come in the last twenty years??

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#1
SS amps, have they improved in the last 20 years? Not discussing tube amps...not discussing objectivity vs. subjectivity...just the original question. Let's see if this can stay on subject.
 
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#3
In terms of efficiency and bench numbers? A great deal.

In terms of sound? No difference, since it was already a solved problem 20 years ago. If you ran your test double blind and level matched, chances are you wouldn't be able to tell any of them apart.
Interesting. So why do you think that the bench numbers have changed in the last twenty years, but the SQ has not?
BTW, i would tend to agree with you on your statement.
 

andreasmaaan

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#4
Interesting. So why do you think that the bench numbers have changed in the last twenty years, but the SQ has not?
BTW, i would tend to agree with you on your statement.
Not because there is no relationship between measurements and sound (to the contrary, there is a relationship) but rather because the performance of amps of 20 years ago had already exceeded the limits of humans' abilities to detect noise and distortion. Thus, any further improvements in performance are not audible.
 
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Not because there is no relationship between measurements and sound (to the contrary, there is a relationship) but rather because the performance of amps of 20 years ago had already exceeded the limits of humans' abilities to detect noise and distortion. Thus, any further improvements in performance are not audible.

Again interesting. If..and that's a VERY BIG 'IF' we believe that the very best ss amps from back in that period were perfect sound reproducing machines...with no faults whatsoever as to their amplifying abilities...what you say makes sense. Or, perhaps you are saying that the human ear is unable to hear any improvements that could be wrought over the years and that the technology from that period was perfected as far as our ability to hear ( presumably our measuring capabilities have vastly improved and have gone beyond our ability to correlate what we hear and what we measure??--to come up with your theory) ...once again interesting.
 

andreasmaaan

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Again interesting. If..and that's a VERY BIG 'IF' we believe that the very best ss amps from back in that period were perfect sound reproducing machines...with no faults whatsoever as to their amplifying abilities...what you say makes sense. Or, perhaps you are saying that the human ear is unable to hear any improvements that could be wrought over the years and that the technology from that period was perfected as far as our ability to hear ( presumably our measuring capabilities have vastly improved and have gone beyond our ability to correlate what we hear and what we measure??--to come up with your theory) ...once again interesting.
It's the latter point that I was making :) Amps then and now do produce measurable noise and distortion, so they are not objectively/technically "perfect", but the levels of noise and distortion that good amps produce is below thresholds of audibility (way below, in fact).
 
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It's the latter point that I was making :) Amps then and no do produce measurable noise and distortion, so they are not objectively/technically "perfect", but the levels of noise and distortion that good amps produce is below thresholds of audibility (way below, in fact).
I happen to have a higher opinion of the ability of the human ear to discern extremely small changes...
Perhaps because I have a 'trained' ear as a former professional musician. Nonetheless, I guess YMMV.
 

JJB70

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#9
Audible transparency is not the same as saying amplifiers achieved perfection. The Benchmark THX power amplifiers have stellar measured performance and are clearly superior to the vast majority of amplifiers based on those measurements, whether most people would notice a difference in performance between them and much more modest amplifiers at normal volumes is another story. There is argument about the point at which transparency is achieved, but for amplifiers I tend to think that the point is reached much lower down the scale than manufacturers and magazines would admit. I'm guessing the Class D amps used in modern active speakers (even the good ones) are not particularly state of the art in terms of amplification yet their performance seems to be a non issue. Good sound in terms of source (and DAC) and amplification was commoditised years ago and you really do not have to spend much to hit the points of transparency and diminishing returns. Speakers are not quite at that point but I also think you can get terrific performance from modest speakers if well set up and you don't need to spend $$$$$$$$$$$'s. Even the better sound bars and blue tooth speakers sound very good.
What has advanced hugely in amplification is efficiency, modern Class D amplifiers aren't a substitute for running the central heating system in winter like some older amps and are very energy efficient.
 

andreasmaaan

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#10
I happen to have a higher opinion of the ability of the human ear to discern extremely small changes...
Perhaps because I have a 'trained' ear as a former professional musician. Nonetheless, I guess YMMV.
I'm not basing my views on my own hearing, which I've tested against various metrics (frequency spectrum, distortion audibility, phase audibility) and which ranges from unexceptional to slightly deficient (loss of some HF hearing in one ear).

I'm basing my comment on decades of psychoacoustics research. So yes, YMMV, but unless you're a freak who has somehow fallen under the radar, it's safe to assume that my comments apply to your hearing, too ;)
 

Blumlein 88

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#12
Did you at least match volume levels carefully in your comparisons? And I don't mean with an SPL meter or by ear. Did anyone measure signal level and match them? If not, then your auditioning is of very little value. Very small level differences will sound like quality differences even when there is no other difference.
 
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#13
Here is the spec sheet for my Krell amp, from 1999, so 20 years old. Not sure what needs to be better...or what would be comparable today.
I don't feel like I'm missing out on the next great thing...and my money can go elsewhere...like speakers that might actually make a difference.



Screenshot_20190707-150327.png
 

sergeauckland

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#14
Amplifiers have been transparent since the late 1960s, so some 50 years, let alone 20. What was improved in the subsequent 20 years was output power and load tolerance, culminating the Musical Fidelity and Krell amplifiers of the mid 1980s that you could weld with.

Since then, there has been considerable improvements in efficiency with Class D, and generally lower distortion and lower manufacturing cost prices (if not retail prices), but clearly, if amplifiers were, with some limitations, transparent by 1968, that hasn't changed.

S
 

Thomas savage

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#15
As I understand it there's a complicated relationship between your amp and your speakers and then your speakers and your room .

So how important is how white your shirt came out the wash if your going to roll in mud before you go out.. the room being the mud and your shirt being your amp.

Should we worry about the negilable audible differences in competent SS designs when there's humongous distortion being suffered elsewhere.

It just seems typical of the conveyer belt mentality many of us get sucked into, worrying about things that should be our last concern. IMO more modern amps should offer room EQ and have at least 2 sub outputs with bass management. That would offer some real world performance benefits beyond the academic numbers game .
 
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Sal1950

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#16
What has advanced hugely in amplification is efficiency, modern Class D amplifiers aren't a substitute for running the central heating system in winter like some older amps and are very energy efficient.
So let's not let ourselfs get trapped in the box that subjectivists attempt to put us in, "All amps sound the same".
All amps do not sound the same, and how close they approach the level of technical excellence that they could be called "audibly transparent" has been improving over the years. How well they can handle difficult loads and all the rest is great today but there are still amps being made that will fail to be perfect with some speakers, and some designed to have a house sound on purpose. Many builders were passing the test in 1980-90s, but many still failing back then.
So yea, most amps have sounded the same for many years, if, if and if. ;)

Amplifiers have been transparent since the late 1960s, so some 50 years, let alone 20. What was improved in the subsequent 20 years was output power and load tolerance, culminating the Musical Fidelity and Krell amplifiers of the mid 1980s that you could weld with.
That's probably pushing things a bit, if there were transparent amps in the 60s, they were very few indeed..
 

amirm

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#17
Amplifiers have been transparent since the late 1960s, so some 50 years, let alone 20.
Let's not go overboard. :) https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ts-did-show-amplifiers-to-sound-different.23/



After a surge of blind tests of amps back in the day, there just has not been much formal activity on this front.

I can easily make amplifiers get into audible distortion if they don't have enough power. Or have horrendous measurements like tube amps.

Swedish LTS did a bunch of test (single blind) where they compared the input to output (attenuated) and they say most amps do color the sound. They are able to push amps hard in this manner so likely are getting into overload category.

But yes, the typical audiophile has no prayer of hearing differences in amps if levels are matched and the test is blind.
 

amirm

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#19
Could the amps behaviour when there's clipping going on be a contributing factor in the ' diffrent ' sound ?
Definitely although to me, it will always make it sound worse, not better than another in the way audiophiles perceive.
 

cjfrbw

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#20
Dunno. I have a 40 year old all original Yamaha B2 VFET amp. If you told me it would stay in good condition and be the only amp I would ever be allowed to own, I wouldn't be upset at my audio future. The B2 is hypnotic to listen to, and holds me pretty much in thrall. I'll be mightily disappointed when it finally breaks.
I really haven't heard much solid state even in the high end expensivo realm that performs that kind of magic when I have heard them at shows. I will say solid state has gotten a lot better from what I have heard in the last 20 years.

I also have a Pass First Watt M2 and a Pass Clone VFET DIY amp that I like a lot.
 
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