View Poll Results: true or false?

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23. This poll is closed
  • true

    4 17.39%
  • false

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  • sometimes true

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  • shut up already!!!

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  1. #1
    SuckMikeHawk23's Avatar
    SuckMikeHawk23 is offline #1 Laker Hater



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    true or false?

    do you think matching brands, as in subwoofer and amps, makes a difference? i'm sure most of you will say no, but think about it. when companies tests a product, they are going to use their own stuff, ie. a fosgate amp will be tested to a fosgate sub, jl to jl, etc. etc. etc. i'm sure there are amps out there that will make their opponents parts sound better, such as phoenix gold, etc. but to me, it seems logical to say, if you get a sub from fosgate or jl, it would sound best with their products, since it's made to perform at its peak with their testing materials. what do you all think?



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  2. #2
    zane's Avatar
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    False....

    Amps do not, and can not change the way a speaker sounds.
    There has been no proven evidence to support the theory that all equipment must be from the same manufacturer. It still is, and will always be merely a matter of choice.

    Take it easy,
    -zane





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  3. #3
    natem33's Avatar
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    Zane - Please tell me I am misunderstanding you. Are you saying that a speaker will always sound the same, regardless of what name brand of amp? If that's true then why are SQ contests concerned with what type of amps are being ran? Are you saying that Pyramid amp sound quality and Alpine sound quality are indifferable? Please clarify this - Thank you




  4. #4
    n2audio's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by natem33
    Zane - Please tell me I am misunderstanding you. Are you saying that a speaker will always sound the same, regardless of what name brand of amp?

    Yes. If you bypass the x/o's and set (with a scope) power output equally all amps sound the same.

    If that's true then why are SQ contests concerned with what type of amps are being ran?

    They're not. High dollar amps don't offer sound quality. They offer nice x/o's, product "image", under-ratedness, and reliability/durability.

    Warmth, clarity, crispness, or whatever you want to call it comes from nice speakers, plenty of power, and a good install.

    Are you saying that Pyramid amp sound quality and Alpine sound quality are indifferable?

    Yes. Like I said earlier, if you bypass the x/o's and set power outputs equally sq is the same. That DOES NOT mean a 50x2 rms pyramid is the same as a 50x2 rms alpine b/c the pyramid will probably only put out 30x2 while the alpine will do 70. HOWEVER, more likely than not, a $150 200x2 rms pyramid will sound as good or better than a $150 50x2 alpine.




  5. #5
    natem33's Avatar
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    N2Audio - thanks for the reply. In 7 years or so of being a car stereo hobbyist I have never heard this before. I'll give it some thought now. When I was purchasing a 4 channel amp I did a side by side comparison with a Rockford amp and an Alpine amp in my car. The Rockford was 50X4 and the Alpine was 30X4. The Alpine blew the Rockford away in all areas. Are you saying that the main reason for sound quality difference was the Alpine X-Over and the Rockford X-over? I normally use an external X-over so if this is true I'll never buy a major name brand amp again - LOL!




  6. #6
    n2audio's Avatar
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    There's an explanation for it. Possibly that RF was a weak one and the alpine was a strong one. Or the RF gain was low, alpine was high. But it is true, power is power. 100 measured Rockwood watts is the same thing as 100 measured rockford watts. However it might take 200 rated rockwood watts to equal 50 rated rockford.

    If you want to learn something about this topic go here:

    http://www.carsound.com/ubb/ultimate...?ubb=forum&f=1

    Do a search for "amp challenge"




  7. #7
    zane's Avatar
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    Ok, Natem33- this should clarify quite a bit for you on this matter.

    These are the Rules of the amp challenge as stated by Richard Clark himself:

    THE $10,000 AMPLIFIER CHALLENGE RULES {April 21, 2000}
    By Richard Clark

    There is no question that all amps are not the same. It is very easy to measure large differences in the performance of amplifiers. This is true in nearly every known specification, including power, noise, distortion, etc. My experience has led me to believe that even though these differences can be easily measured, hearing those differences may not be so easy. Given the relatively small magnitude of performance differences, there is a giant step between amplifier performance and our ability to hear performance differences.
    It is claimed by designers, manufacturers and especially salespersons that differences in amplifiers are clearly audible. Reasons include "obvious" advantages of one type of circuit topology over another. For example, it is claimed that certain designs have a smoother midrange response whereas other amplifiers exhibit tighter bass. Tube fanatics claim that tube amplifiers have that "warm" sound we all need in our systems.
    Such descriptive terms are certainly subject to personal interpretation. It is not my intention to determine if one particular amplifier is better than another amplifier. Differences in the quality of the discrete components and constructions are more appropriate for settling the issue of "good - better - best." The sole purpose of my amplifier challenge is to determine if the differences in amplifiers are audible.
    What differences are Audible?
    I believe the perceived differences in amplifiers are all due to various factors that can be explained with basic physics and elementary psyco-acoustics. For instance, if two amplifiers are not carefully matched in volume, and one amp is slightly louder than the other, then it would be a simple matter to detect such a difference. In such an example it is important to understand that it is not the circuit topology, quality of the component, design excellence, or superb marketing and packaging that caused the noticeable difference - it was an error in the test setup! It is my present belief that as long as a modern amplifier is operated within its linear range (below overload), the differences between amps are inaudible to the human ear.
    Comparing Amps
    The idea here is for a test subject to scientifically demonstrate his/her ability to hear differences in amplifiers. It is our job to carefully match the amps so that we are comparing "apples to apples" instead of "oranges to frogs." This means that we sure wouldn't want to compare one amplifier that had + 12 dB of high frequency boost against another amplifier that was adjusted for + 12 dB of bass boost. Such a test would be easy to pass - even on identical amplifiers with consecutive serial numbers.
    For our comparison test, we aren't concerned with which amplifier sounds best to the test subject. We only require that the listener be able to identify each amplifier when it is powering the speakers. Since many folks seem to believe that amplifiers have some kind of distinctive sonic character, this test should be easy to pass. Right? After all, we're talking about comparing those harsh sounding, high distortion, squeaky "widget As" to those warm sounding, smooth, bass hog "widget Bs."
    Now pay particular attention to the following sections. Since we're looking for differences in amplifiers, and we already know that those differences are probably going to be very, very small, it is important that the parameters under our control be carefully adjusted so as to be equal as possible. This means that we must be cognizant of differences we might unknowingly introduce between amp A and amp B. They must be adjusted as identical as possible. We already mentioned the importance of volume. The same goes for the L and R balance. It sure would be easy to choose an amplifier that exhibited left side bias over a balanced amp. Right?
    Well, in order to keep this amplifier comparison test fair, there are a few other parameters that must be considered. I'll list them all in the following section.

    Amplifier Comparison Test Conditions
    1. Amplifier gain controls - of both channels - are matched to within +- .05 dB.
    2. Speaker wires on both amps are properly wired with respect to polarity. (+ and -)
    3. That neither amp has signal phase inversion. If so correction will be made in #2 above.
    4. That neither amp is loaded beyond its rated impedance.
    5. That all amplifiers with signal processors have those circuits bypassed. This includes bass boost circuits, filters, etc. If frequency tailoring circuits cannot be completely bypassed an equalizer will be inserted in the signal path of one (only one and the listener can decide which) of the amps to compensate for the difference. Compensation will also be made for input and output loading that affects frequency response. Since we are only listening for differences in the sonic signature of circuit topology, the addition of an EQ in one signal path only should make the test even easier.
    6. That neither amp exhibits excessive noise (including RFI).
    7. That each amp can be properly driven by the test setup. Not normally a problem but it is theoretically a problem.
    8. That the L and R channels are not reversed in one amp.
    9. That neither amp has excessive physical noise or other indicators that can be observed by the listener.
    10. That neither amp has DC OFFSET that causes audible pops when its output is switched.
    11. That the channel separation of all amps in the test is at least 30 dB from 20Hz to 20kHz.
    Page 1 of 2

    Continued Below---->





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  8. #8
    zane's Avatar
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    Richard Clark Amp Challenge- continued

    In addition to these requirements the test will be conducted according to the following rules.
    Amplifier Test Comparison Rules
    1. To make things easy we would prefer to use high quality home type loudspeakers for the test. If our speakers are not acceptable, the listener can provide any commercially available speaker system as long as it uses dynamic drivers. The actual measured impedance cannot exceed the rated load impedance of the amplifiers tested. If, however, the tester would like to perform the test in a car, we will use a car, however, it will have to be provided by the test subject. For practicality we will have to limit the number of amplifier channels to four or less.
    2. Amplifiers will be powered from the same power supply at a nominal 14 volts DC. (any voltage is OK as long as it is the same for both amps)
    3. The test can be conducted at any volume desired; however, the amps will not be allowed to clip. In other words, listening volume can not exceed the power capacity of the smallest amp of the pair being tested. (power capacity will be defined as clipping or 2%THD 20Hz to 10kHz, whichever is less)
    4. No test signals can be used - only commercially available music.
    5. The listener can compare two amps at a time for as long as desired. For practical reasons we would like to keep this at least no more than a few hours. A test session will consist of 12 A/B sequences. Passing the test will require a positive identification of each amp for all 12 sequences. Remember, guessing will get you about 6 out of 12. If the differences are so great, and a subject can really hear the difference, then he/she should be able to do so for all 12 sequences.
    6. To win the $10,000.00, the listener must pass two complete sessions of 12 comparisons. Passing the test means 24 correct responses.* The amp of choice can be compared to the same or a different amp in each session - challengers choice. We have many amplifiers in our demo inventory such as, but not limited to, Alpine, Rockford, Kicker, Phoenix Gold, Precision Power, MTX, Adcom, Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony, etc. You can pick any of them or bring your own.
    7. All amps must be brand name, standard production, linear voltage amplifiers. This does not exclude high current amps. Amps can not be modified and must meet factory specs. They must be "car audio amplifiers designed to be powered from a car's electrical system."
    8. Failure of an amp (this includes thermal shutdown) during the test will require that the test be repeated after repair or replacement or cooling of the amp. This means that the entire test session will have to be repeated.
    9. The amps will not be overloaded during the session from either a voltage or current requirement.
    10. To save time the listener will have to pass a quick 8 trial session to qualify for the extended 2 session test for the money prize. Any 2 amps can be used for this test. Passing this qualifying test will require at least 6 out of 8 correct answers.
    11. The amplifier power up and/or power down sequence will not be acceptable for comparison. (The turn on/off noises of some amplifiers would give it away.)
    12. Although anyone is welcome to take the test, only subjects employed in the car audio industry or Car Sound subscribers are eligible for the $10,000.00 prize.
    13. Cost to take the test is $100.00. $300.00 for people representing companies. Payable in advance, scheduled appointments only. Done correctly the test takes several hours and I don't have the time if you aren't serious.
    * Twelve correct responses in a row is certainly a lot of correct listening but $10,000 is also a lot of money for a few hours of easy listening. The way people describe the differences is that they are like night and day. I would certainly not have any trouble choosing between an apple and an orange 12 times in a row. When compared fairly I believe the differences in amps are much too small to audibly detect and certainly too small to pay large sums of extra money for. If I am wrong someone should be able to carefully take this test and win my money. Even if I am right, if enough people take the test eventually someone will take my money due to random chance. This is the reason for the large sample requirement. If you feel that you can easily pass this test but 12 sequences will give you "listening fatigue" I am willing to modify the requirements. Since the way it is being offered is a challenge and only my money is at risk I am willing to let a confident challenger "put his money where his ears are". If we are willing to make this a bet instead of a challenge, I am willing to drop 1 sequence for every thousand dollars put up by the challenger against my money. This would mean:

    ____My___________ _ _Your________Trails Required to win__
    $10,000 to $0 = 12 Tries
    $9,000 to $1,000 = 11 Tries
    $8,000 to $2,000 = 10 Tries
    $7,000 to $3,000 = 9 Tries
    $6,000 to $4,000 = 8 Tries
    $5,000 to $5,000 = 7 Tries
    $4,000 to $6,000 = 6 Tries
    I will not do the test with less than 6 trails. It would be statistically meaningless and reduce the challenge to mere gambling.

    -RC


    Recently there has been a revision to this challenge- this can be found here:

    http://www.carsound.com/ubb/ultimate...c&f=1&t=014100

    This should offer at great length; the information you need.

    Take it easy,
    -zane





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  9. #9
    natem33's Avatar
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    Thanks to Zane and N2Audio - I have a good grasp on the concept now. I'm guessing the reason that I never heard this before is because it's not information that any audio retailer would reveal. With this theory in mind, would it be benificial to buy cheaper but decent amps, bypass the X-over circuitry, and use a reputable external X-over and EQ for the sound quality control?




  10. #10
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    Amp and XO

    That depends on the amp and XO... Not everything does exactly what they are supposed to do, or what they say they will do..You can get a mediocre amp and an excellent XO and have the sound comparable to one amp that costs twice as much.

    Mike




  11. #11
    n2audio's Avatar
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    For people like me who don't have an endless supply of cash to blow on car audio, I think a LOT can be done with budget/mid-level equipment. I personally have been running a $225 Lanzar vibe 1200D and upgraded to a $500 Optidrive 1000.1D and if anything I've noticed a DROP in my system's performance.

    If you can find an affordable line of equipment that is in the ballpark on it's ratings I don't see a drawback of trying one and seeing what you can get it to do. One thing you may run into with cheaper stuff is longetivity issues, performance under stress, that kind of thing.

    You could do what I spent a couple years doing. Get on ebay, find something that you think will fit your needs, and if it doesn't work out, re-sell it and move on. That's how I came to settle on Lanzar, well, that and my bro's been running old school opti's for 10 years now

    Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject.





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  12. #12
    natem33's Avatar
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    I've had a few cheaper amps whcih did not work out for me. They were HiFonics amps. I have only bought high end amps since then. I never keep the same equipment for long. I always like to try new equipment now and then. Now, I am not so much interested in the image aprt of car audio anymore. I have some budget amps in mind that I'm going to try to run through my Alpine digital EQ and Pioneer X-over. Can an internal amps X-over electronics be easily disabled if not turned off?




  13. #13
    n2audio's Avatar
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    As far as I know pretty much every amp built since the mid 90's will have a hpf, lpf and full or flat setting on the x/o. Setting it at full, or flat bypasses it.




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    Zane...all good in theory. If you read Richard's rules, he is ensuring that the reason high-quality (Read that: expensive) amps are expensive is taken out of the formula.

    He is exactly correct in his theory, if under these "ideal" arrangements, the human ear is likely to not be able to discern an audible difference.

    BUT...in real world applications, this is false. Real world relies on well behaved power supplies, well balanced outputs, design topography that helps control noise, and numerous other items that can add to the cost of a product to do it right.

    Richard's rules would allow the following to occur:

    Amp 1: Zapco Z200C2 (2x50 watt, $399.00)
    Versus
    Amp 2: Radio Shack Optimus XL-100 (2x55 watt, $99.99)

    In Richard's test, each amp would be measured at the point that the weakest amp begins to clip, lets say the 2 clips at 7.5 watts; well then 1 would be tested at 7.5 watts. These two would probably sound much the same at this power. What you can't hear though is that 1 has much more that it can do.

    So, for the real world, would you be happy with the 7.5 watt output? If so, then yes, by all means, only spend the $99.99 and you will live a happy life. But if you demand more, then you will pay more.

    Here is another way to look at this:

    Richard's contest for cars:
    rules:
    1) Must have 4 wheels and a combustion engine.
    2) Gear ratios and HP per pound must be identical, or one can be changed to make them so.
    3) they must go from point A to point B.
    4) the aerodynamic drag must be identical, if not, one will be modified as to make them both the same.
    5) You win if you can determine which would be faster.

    This is not why we have cars...we embrace the differences...whether it be cars, amps, speakers, chicks, dudes...this is what makes it FUN...REMEMBER THAT!!!




  15. #15
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    That's exactly what he is saying, 7.5 watts out of one amp, doesn't matter what brand, will be the same quality as 7.5 watts of any other brand. What makes them different is the materials, crossovers, features, and the image.




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