Do amplifiers sound different?

February 6, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

14 comments on “Do amplifiers sound different?”

  1. When I was about 14-15 I used to hang out at my local high-end emporium, Franklin Lakes Stereo in NJ. One day they had me listening to some DCM Time Windows being powered by Hafler electronics… not bad! And then they switched out the Hafler power amp for a Class A Threshold. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather; I was hooked for life. 🙂 Absolutely huge difference, and all in favor of the Threshold. Anyway Paul, my question to you is this: I have always liked the sound of tubes. Given what Carver did all those years ago, is it not possible to successfully mimic the sound of tubes with a fully solid-state circuit today? I assume the answer is that you can probably get awfully close but not quite all the way, but given that you brought up Carver, I thought it’s a question worth asking.

    BTW I heard a Stellar amp for the first time locally a few weeks ago. My aural memory isn’t good enough to really say how it compares to the BHK’s but I was _very_ impressed.

    1. Bob- This is something I hope to do as well and is on topic. (your 2nd paragraph) I have the 700s and while I’m sure many (especially at PSA) would say the BHK and 700s are “night and day”, I would love to investigate the difference in my system with my ears. Especially after reading the latest review(s). Difference in amps- certainly. Especially in architecture. However I believe they are voiced similarly so it would be a fun exercise one day. And/or to hear from those who have heard or owned both. Both well made and impressive “kit” as they say …..

      Also to your other point I noticed Cary Audio makes a statement regarding their SS products like the SL-100:

      “While the SL-100 is a solid state design, you’ll swear we hid tubes in there somewhere. Voiced to sound “tube like,” the SL-100 produces a lush midrange, sweet highs and solid bass response while always sounding warm and rich to just the perfect degree without losing any of the detail.”

    2. Bob…

      Franklin Lakes Stereo? … Do you remember Rich Favia, who managed the store for a while? I used to work with him at Ear Drum Audio in Nanuet NY before Rich went to Franklin Lakes.

      1. Yes for sure. I probably wasted a ton of that poor guy’s time, but he definitely helped make me into a lifelong audiophile. And I still have a pair of Sequerra Met 7’s that I bought from him in 1981, when I could finally spare a few $$. I remember also that for a while he had a younger guy working there named Kevin who used to help me fix stuff. Nice place. I believe it is still there in some form, now mainly selling home theater and video.

          1. Wow, OMG. Don’t actually remember much about him… we are talking 40+ years ago. But yes, very likeable according to my recollection. The kind of salesperson who would be nice to a teenager with no money to his name but who really loved this stuff.

  2. That’s so funny to read about Rich Favia. Yes, he went from Franklin Lakes then to Goshen, NY where he had Longplayer and then to Maine as posted above. Kevin was his brother in law IIRC.

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