All Amps Sound the Same....

A guy posted this on another forum:

"This is my other expensive hobby and while I agree with you about low end receivers, once you get to mid-priced (~$600-1000 street price) multichannel receivers you're into pretty good gear...Keep in mind that an amplifier sounds like an amplifier and changing brands should add or subtract nothing to/from the sound and that going up the food chain just adds power output or snob appeal to a separate amplifier...These days most audiophiles either use a good quality multichannel receiver alone or use a mid-priced multichannel receiver to drive their amps even for 2-channel."

Wow, where do they come up with this? Lack of experience?
Yeah, obviously this guy doesn't know what he's talking about with any of this.

He probably works at an electronics store, let's say Best Buy or Fry's.
From those with a "$600-1000 street price" budget, and their ears filled with advice from salesmen at big box stores.
It's his opinion. Everyone has one and is entitled to it. I happen to think he's off base but what do I know !!!!
For the overwhelming majority of music listeners the statements make very good sense. If you download your music from popular/non-audiophile sites, don't use acoustic room treatments, don't have a dedicated listen room, haven't meticulously positioned your loudspeakers and don't seat in a sweet spot, then why spend over $1k on an amplifier?

There's no need for snobbish bashing.
Head for the high ground. This thread may quickly morph into another version of "do power cords really make a difference?" Onhwy61 makes a good point though, consider the source and the intended audience before lobbing invective.
a sales pitch IMO

"Once you get to this price point it is safe to buy because thay all sound the same"

In other words, buy from me, do not look around...

just a thought
If the history I've read is correct, the big magazines refused blind testing after one of them tried it on a range of amps and found that they couldn't reliably tell the expensive ones from the cheap ones.

That's not the same thing as saying they sounded the same, but it might hold true today that your ears alone won't drive you to prefer a costlier amp or a new amp over a vintage amp.
Russ 69:

while the quote you have chosen is preposterous, it illustrates how ignorant people are.

one should not make statements about component differences without some evidence.
It's not that the original quote is necessarily all that far off, as Onhwy61 explained.

The attitude however is know-nothingish, and that's the last thing this planet needs.

In addition, it does make a difference whether your amp is built by robots, corporate slave labor, or technicians and engineers that really care about their amps.

So in the end, there is plenty wrong with the quote after all, without even entering into the obvious experience that we've all had when we finally got our hands on a fine amp.
Most non audiophiles and non music lovers wouldn't hear a difference . Everyone is entitled to there own opinion , even if it is lame .
speaking the TRUTH on this site, is like throwing Holy Water on a vampire hahahahhahahahaha
If you can't perceive the differences in tonality, resolution, sound staging, imaging, ambience recovery, etc, between various amps; you're blessed(think of all the money you'll save, by NEVER having to upgrade).
Some of you guys guessed it right. Here's the latest quote:

"You've been sold a bill of goods my friend. There's a lot snake oil in "high-end" audio and anybody that tells you that a two channel amp sounds better than a multichannel amp or a receiver for that matter is pushing snake oil. Drop by Audioholics sometime my friend."

I wish someone had told me this a little earlier, I could have saved a ton of money, LOL.
This is as accurate as "Full, rich sound" from Bose.
You either buy into their viewpoint, or you don't.
any comments on this, my learned brethren.
DEJA VU(Stereo Review)! Or perhaps, simply a plagerizing of some of Julian(stone-deaf) Hirsch's better columns(some were more hilarious than others).
There's always been the camp that believes all well designed amps sound the same, so long as they're not clipping. My question has always been - define "well designed." What's the cut-off point of well designed vs crap? Is entry level NAD level stuff well designed, or are we talking McIntosh level?

There's also the all cables sound the same crowd. Their's a lot of people who belong to both groups simultaneously.

Lately I've seen a stronger all DACs sound the same crowd over at Pink Fish Media. They contend that DAC chips and stuff like that have surpassed recorded music's limitations.

I'm of the it's absurd to tell someone what they do and don't hear camp. Live and let live. I have nothing to gain from someone telling me what I'm hearing and what I'm supposedly making up in my head.

I'm just waiting for the all speakers sound the same uprising. I can see it now... All well designed speakers sound the same so long as they're not making the amp clip (remember they all sound the same too), the room is properly treated, and it is of appropriate size and shape with the appropriate furniture in it. The only difference is high and low frequency extension.

Just wait, that one's coming soon.
This view will exist as long as audiophiles want to believe what they have is as good as it can get, and curiosity vanishes. Pursue your dream even if the imagnation meter barely moves. Me, I want to hear it all, but that is just me. Sometimes it can be too much....more equipment, less music, but such is the curious journey....
I think we're all getting a bit snooty around here... as for me, I think instant coffee tastes fantastic, and who needs roast & ground coffee beans, or Starbucks for that matter...:-):-(
So much of what amps sound like is determined by the speakers. If the speaker designers are willing to sacrifice total sound potential in an effort to make the speakers easier to amplify, then it might not matter as much what amplifiers are used.
Not all people hear well; when you combine those people with ones who don't listen well, and add folks who don't care about music; we are out numbered. Their "graphanolas" are just some kind of background noise.
Unsound, the easy solution to your statement is to go active and eliminate the passive crossover which imo is a dinosaur anyway. Now you have serious sensitivity with the ability to precisely tailor response.
Audiofeil, no, no, no. Every power cord sounds the same, it's the wall socket that makes the difference. :-)

Below is a scene I'm writing from "A Few Good Audiophiles". (Any similarities to "A Few Good Men" is purely intentional).

Jack: You want the proof?
Tom: I want the proof!
Jack: You want the proof? You can't handle the proof!

Jack: Son, we live in a very electrical world. There are things that go on that you can't possibly fathom. I offer the security of a well made wall socket so that you can sleep at night under the blanket of knowing that you are getting the best sound possible. Deep down, you WANT that socket in your wall. You NEED that socket in your wall and I resent you even questioning my authority about the way I go about it.

Jack: Are we clear?
Tom: Crystal.
maybe 'all audiophiles sound the same' would be a more accurate ststement.
09-05-11: Rok2id
maybe 'all audiophiles sound the same' would be a more accurate ststement.

Not in a million years !!!!!
Most of my friends believe that all amps and CDPs sound the same (it is only about power while digital sounds always the same). Interestingly, they believe that speakers make big difference. 33% success rate ain't bad.
If all amps don't sound the same now, when will they?

I.E., board level components are cheap, excellent designs have been in existence for more than 50 years, even the more showy items such as heavy metal structure & etc. become a minute contribution to price once the price point hits a fairly modest mid-fi price level. What is there in the production of a world class amp that would justify more than say a retail price of $1500.00 for absolute state of the art performance?

There is the thing about some preference for NOS tubes come to think about it, so perhaps the rhetorical question would need to exclude high dollar NOS tubes or other bits of unobtainium that I'm overlooking.
Jeff_jones - it is not that simple. SS designs 50 years ago were horrible with huge negative feedback and a lot of TIM distortions. Sanity is slowly coming back but amplifier design is not a trivial thing especially with budget constraints. The fact is that even for $1500 today you can find very decent and very horrible sounding amps. We tend to prefer the first kind.
If all amps sound the same, then we should recommend that everybody buy a 500 watt a channel job as their first and only amp they will ever need. How come the guys that think all amps sound the same never own/owned a big/expensive amp?
IMO comparing an amp to a mutlichannel AVR is not anywhere in the same area.

The statements the OP posted to me come from someone not very fimilar with the hobby like we are.

For instance it would be a tough day for an AVR to drive certain speakers and I think one would be asking themselves why does my AVR blow up when I choose to run a 2 ohm load on it?

The box stores like Dumb Buy and alike push AVR's as that is what most people go in looking for. Even HTIBs because someone can't even understand the difference between an AVR and a HTIB.

That and when people are listening to crap thru bose systems what would they know? They think they got the best out there due to name. Heck I even work with a kid who was a Bose store manager and tells me I'm stupid for buying audio like I do.

In the end, to each their own. I wish more people could wake up and hear what good SQ is like but then that would mean they would have to take the time to listen in such a busy world.
I think whomever posted the stuff in the OP was just trying to start a fight or rile up folks.
I haven't done direct A/B comparisions in my listening room. But, my guess is that at least some of the affordable multichannel amps from Yamaha, Marantz, Denon and others are competitive with the audiophile offerings of smaller manufacturers. Particularly with speakers that are easy to drive, which is the current trend in speaker design. After all, do people really believe that a Jaguar outperforms a Honda, or that a Rolex outperforms a Timex?
the statement "all amps sound the same" can only be proven mathematically. while it seems intuitive that the statement is false, a definitive proof is necessary.

relying on sense perception is invalid because the senses are unreliable.

can anyone offer a mathematical proof ?
Some people like a Timex because it accurately and reliably tells the time. Some people like a Timex because it shows they are pragmatic and sensible in how they spend their money. Some people like a Rolex because it has a nice weight and feel on their arm and will look like new 10 years later. Some people like a Rolex because it shows they have discerning tastes and the money to support those tastes. How does that compare to amps? Well, some people like their MP3 player because it can hold thousands of songs and play them forever anywhere and everywhere. Some people like their lower cost amp because it shows that they are pragmatic and want reliability. Some people like very expensive amps because it shows that they have discerning tastes and the money to support those tastes. Some people like their expensive amps because the sound is what they have been searching for since forever. And owning it means giving up something else.
You know what is a real waste? Someone who drives a Porsche just to commute to work. This is a car meant to be driven, driven by a driver with the skill to appreciate it. Comparably, a hifi system purchased by someone who does not really listen and appreciate the music it can make. To say all amps sound the same is simply someone who has not yet listened, or heard the music different amps and systems can make.
Mrtennis- How does Math, "sound?" (just kidding) I know Acoustics, Electronics and gear specs are all about Math, but- ANY two amps are going to differ in SOME measureable parameters.
hi rodman. you're right but you have to listen to an amp to hear it. the fact that you can measure them , does not constitute a proof that they "sound" different.
MrTennis, I've never read anything in a spec sheet that gave me the slightest clue on how an amp sounds. I'm not sure we are even measuring the right parameters.

No, Jedinite24, just can't understand why somebody would make that statement unless they have just started in HI-FI or never had the bucks for a good amp. Just a discussion, that's all.

hi russ69:

my point is that one should not trust the senses. it's one thing to be confident that there is a difference between two amps, its another to know it and prove it is true,.

there is no valid proof that is based upon sensation.

sensation is a form of opinion in that there is a probability that the sensation is true and a probability that it is false.

all statements which assert superiority of one component over another , or an attempt to describe the sound of a component can not be knowledge, hence they are probabilistic.
"hi russ69: my point is that one should not trust the senses."

I use my ears, to listen to my HI-FI. I can listen to a pair of amps and tell you which one I like better. It may not be better by measured criteria but I can decide if it sounds better to me. If the two amps under test are very close in sound, then I will have to spend some time with each one. Sometimes a long time. After a while and some evaluation, I can pick the one I like.
I trust my senses, if I have the time to test things out. After all we are using one of our senses to enjoy HI-FI. Can I be misled? Sure, but not for a long period of time. I trust my ears. I surely can tell when something sounds like crap. I don't need any supporting documentation for that.
****my point is that one should not trust the senses****

Mrtennis, I truly admire the steadfastness of your very didactic approach to things audio (and, I suspect, other matters as well). But, I can't help but react to what is probably one of the most provocative statements that I have ever read in a music/audio forum. Not trust one's senses? Huh?!?!

This points to what I think is one of the key underlying issues in disagreements among audiophiles; disagreements about the merits or flaws of equipment, design concepts, and the technology of music playback in general.

What I refer to is inextricable connections between the humanity (senses) of the performers of the music, the humanity (senses) of the listener, and the techno-quagmire (audio equipment) that is a kind of necessary evil along the way. The senses cannot be ignored, and most definitely should be trusted. I suppose this all points to differences between different types of personalities, but music is all about emotion and the senses. The technology used to capture it and play it back has to honor that fact if it is to be truly successful. The best audio designers know this. The numbers must always take a back seat to the senses. One has to trust one's senses and emotions. That is what gives all this true meaning.
the senses are unreliable. witnesses to an event often present different versions of an event.

what you hear one day, you may not hear on another.

there is a myriad of experiemnets in the psycholgy journals, which discuss the unreliability of perception.

when you trust your senses, the result is probably true and probably false.

most audio discussions are philosophical disccsions.

they have no definitive conclusion.

let me give you an example.

suppose two people are auditioning a stereo system. the evaluation by each one will probably differ, one from the other.

in my hypothetical example, it is impossible to determine which assessment is true and which is false.

in fact "truth" and "false" are hard to establish in these audio discussions.