Feeding and caring for our biases

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Over on the Community Forums one of our posters suggested they had previously owned several class D amplifiers and found them to sound thin, cold and unengaging. "Why would anyone bother producing such an amplifier?" On the face of it it's a good question.

Problem is, the type of amplifier topology has little to do with how it sounds. Yeah, I know, that doesn't ring true does it? I mean, all class A amps sound a certain way, just as all tubes amps, all class A/B, all Class D amps? Doesn't that fit your expectations and biases? But then you hear an amplifier that sounds open, gorgeous, musical in every way. You wonder what magical properties it must have to sound like this? Let's just say for this post it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter because it's near impossible to generalize performance from a specific topology. It's hard because in large part that sound is more dependent on how the designer managed the design rather than the topology itself. Everything from the power supplies to the input stages, to the chassis parts, isolation, wiring, connectors etc. The same is true for loudspeakers, turntables, cartridges, etc.

As humans we compartmentalize things. Life's much easier if we can place our biases, opinions and conclusions in small compartments that serve us well. We read a review or group of reviews and compartmentalize the reviewer's conclusions into easy to access data. We hear a set of speakers and form an opinion that now extends to any speaker similar in construction. We like the sound of moving coil cartridges so we never consider a moving magnet. Air bearing turntables sound best, direct drive motors are to be shunned, switching power supplies all sound a certain way.

I know it's hard to release some of our cherished biases but if you can, it'll help in your quest for what really matters, how it sounds.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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