Jump to content


Not all amps sound the same.... Or do they?

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Scrambled_legs


    Irregular Member

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,702 posts
  • Location:51°45'N 00°04'E

Posted 10 May 2018 - 21:12

Not all amps sound the same, unless you never listen to them, or if you just use the spec sheet as a guide....


Ive heard systems with cheap amps that have sounded wicked in the right car, and ive heard expensive amps that dont sound that way in a more difficult car ;)


the right amp is the one that works, whether its uber expensive, or under 400 quid !

'Music Inflames Temperament'





#2 Haakon


    It's cold here

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,719 posts
  • Location:Norway

Posted 11 May 2018 - 13:14

How can you isolate the sound characteristic of the amp itself in those systems though? The amp is one of the things that contribute the least to the sum of what makes one setup great and another one bad (in totally different setups/cars). 




#3 Twonks



  • Feedback: View
  • 6,039 posts
  • Location:In the middle

Posted 13 May 2018 - 07:43

I've split this thread off into it's own, as the original 11 year old thread was full of people that no longer post and I think the subject matter is a great one for debate.


Rather than just kill it, here we have a new thread for todays views, especially as amps have developed over the years.


My personal view is that no, all amps do not sound the same. However that is assuming I am considering the complete amplifier with all its associated bells and whistles. (Internal switches, filters, PSU etc)


It's been a while since I read the 'I'll give anybody 10 thousand dollars if they can tell the difference' comments on forums. I suspect if you were listening to just the amplifier section alone it would indeed be a lot closer, and iirc that challenge had very narrow criteria for the 'amps'


In the real world there is a lot of processing before and after the amplication area so complete amplifiers do have a sonic signature.


Then again, is it placebo :lol:


Interesting discusion hopefully.

#4 bigrigbri


    Fighting time and losing.

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,021 posts
  • Location:Derbyshire

Posted 13 May 2018 - 08:37

In years past using older mainstream amps ( class A / B ) I was convinced that they sounded much cleaner with greater dynamics when using a lower voltage input and the gain wound up to suit.
Surely the internal variable resistors squeezing the higher voltage input to the level the pre amp can handle add some sonic signature.
Bmw E39 530d,?, Alpine cda-9887r

#5 Mannparry


    Forum rent boy.

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,282 posts
  • Location:ESSEX

Posted 13 May 2018 - 08:57

If all amps sound the same, Gordon might just have pulled off one of the best scams of all time with changing amp biased and output stages, meanwhile we all join in and do his marketing for him too giving him nothing but praise.  :lol:


There’s enough experienced members on here that go through various high end amps until they settle on something. I personally don’t think they sound the same but at the same time I don’t have any evidence to back up my opinion. Iv never done a/b tests with amps in the same setup. 


I did change out an H701 processor for an H800 a few years back with the same settings and could notice a big difference. Using the “don’t sound the same” theory you would think that if all settings were the same effectively the same signal is running through a bunch of chips and wouldn’t make a difference.  :whatever:



If nothing else I prefer the look of high end amps.  :clown:

Dyn's on class A

#6 Agi


    Senior Member

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,941 posts

Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:51

The argument exists that all amps should sound the same. An amplifier simply increases the input signal. A perfect amplifier therefore should simply not touch the signal other than increasing amplitude and current handling ability.
The reason amps sound differently is because they are not perfect and are not at all linear across different frequencies and volumes. 


Manufacturers have for years used the 'signature' of 'their sound' to their advantage to help sell their product. There are lots of big discussions like this on diyaudio and they always go round in circles as what people define as the perfect amp isn't necessarily one which doesn't modify the sonic signature.

Wide acceptance of an idea is not proof of its validity.

#7 m@tty


    Senior Member

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,386 posts
  • Location:Leeds

Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:57

They don’t all sound the same! Those that sound different colour the sound! It’s up to the listener to decide if that’s preferable!

Valves seem to colour the sound the most and also seem to cost the most!!

At 70mph they all sound the same!

#8 tonny


    Regular Forum User

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,681 posts

Posted 13 May 2018 - 12:38

There is difference between amp's.... How much and if you can hear it depends on the system you compare them in! 

And also the drivers used to review them. 


The differences are only so small they can't fix any mistake in your instal... a dsp can mask the mistakes to some degree, a better instal can fix them! 

A good sounding car is a careful mix of art and science. 


#9 Bodhisattva


    Living the van life

  • Feedback: View
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,986 posts
  • Location:north o' the border

Posted 13 May 2018 - 16:57

Sadly most of the time we hear with our eyes, the differences in components across all amps are what make sonic colouration whether it be pleasing or not. The better matched ether amplifier components and more time tuning the amp the more neutral it sounds and less it adds to the overall sound

Saying that,I once let hotwheels listen to my old golf with a £20 Sony head unit, £10 purple amp and home made passive network with CDT sub and components , 6's and widebands and his jaw dropped with the sound, even more so when I showed him what he was listening to go figure

Quote “gordon@ampdoctor “  “Genesis is now built in Burton on Trent, stayl to the saeme spaecifacaeshoon.”


install in a constant state of Flux