Classifying amplifier brands by sound signature

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vineetrad

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I recently came across this categorization on the Whathifi forums. I realize this is a rather gross high level generalization without consideration of many variables such as type of amplifier, etc but I do feel generally brands and their designers have an overall idea of a design goal wrt the sound. I am curious to know what others on the forum think, and if you agree or disagree with this high level bucketing based on your experience.

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Nitin K

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To my ears the mainstream Yamaha sounded more on the brighter side ratherthan neutral with a hint of warmth.
Given that cohesively the sound signature depends with which speaker the amp is paired with.
 

vineetrad

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To my ears the mainstream Yamaha sounded more on the brighter side ratherthan neutral with a hint of warmth.
Given that cohesively the sound signature depends with which speaker the amp is paired with.

I think here the Yamaha models being referred to are the AS2xxx and AS3xxx models which are a lot more mellow that the lower end mainstream Yamaha amps
 
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Nitin K

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I think here the Yamaha models being referred to are the AS2xxx and AS3xxx models which are a lot more mellow that the lower end mainstream Yamaha amps
I have not heard the top tier Yamaha but have heard that they sound different from the mainstream ones. Hence could have a hint of warmth as you have classified them.
 

Analogous

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I recently came across this categorization on the Whathifi forums. I realize this is a rather gross high level generalization without consideration of many variables such as type of amplifier, etc but I do feel generally brands and their designers have an overall idea of a design goal wrt the sound. I am curious to know what others on the forum think, and if you agree or disagree with this high level bucketing based on your experience.
View attachment 59248
These are very compelling generalisations.
my thoughts on reading this:
- Audiophiles love adjectives that describe the senses and emotions
- The need to generalise is a compulsion that we can not escape.
- This list has reinforced a few long held beliefs and formed new ones (about amps I have not heard)
 

Lizard King

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It's unlikely that one will get to hear all or most of the amplifiers in one's lifetime. But may help someone in narrowing down the choices. As you said, it reinforces the beliefs about the sound signature of these brands, as is often described in audiophile world. However it is also a world where myths are perpetuated.

Also most of the Group 2 are class D. Is that how class D sounds?

Is there a difference in the older class D amplifiers vs the new ones that are coming out? Expensive/ reference grade but class D...
 

drkrack

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I recently came across this categorization on the Whathifi forums. I realize this is a rather gross high level generalization without consideration of many variables such as type of amplifier, etc but I do feel generally brands and their designers have an overall idea of a design goal wrt the sound. I am curious to know what others on the forum think, and if you agree or disagree with this high level bucketing based on your experience.
View attachment 59248
That's Quite exhausting Classification ; I'd rather try Putting them in 4 Categories. Again most of it is from Listening experience and Some Google research.

1. Live Sounding (Forward, Bold, Exciting) : Naim, Krell, Cyrus, Bryston, CA, Roksan, Audiolab, AP

2. Neutral /Analytical : Most Good Class D, Hegel, Rotel, Parasound

3. Warmer Side of Neutral : Plinius, Hegel, Gryphon, Vintage Onkyo, Sansui, NAD AB amps, Rega

4. Warmer /Darker : Class A Amplifiers, Luxman, Accuphase, McIntosh, Pass Labs, Good Tube Amplifiers, AR, Esoteric

These classes are quite broad and for basic understanding purposes, any Amp Can sound different depending upon the Partnering Electronics(Source /Speakers) and finally Cables.
One Aspect is The Premium Or Richer Sound Can be in any of the 4 Classes and so is the Cheaper sound, (The Richness or Premium is akin to watching your own garden in True Oled TVs vs LCD TVs, it just appears Richer on OLED). So Naim may sound premium than Audiolab or Hegel may sound premium over Parasound; in spite of being in the same category. The 2nd aspect is the Control, the amplifier has on speakers, Which also follows the Richness, Amps with Good Control don't sound distorted (read shouty, not clipping) when driven hard or played loud. For ex I never felt McIntosh or Gryphon sounding shouty. The 3rd aspect is Being Musical or involving /engaging which any of the Amplifiers can sound when properly paired with matching electronics.
As usual YMMV...
 
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Decadent_Spectre

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These are very compelling generalisations.
my thoughts on reading this:
- Audiophiles love adjectives that describe the senses and emotions
- The need to generalise is a compulsion that we can not escape.
- This list has reinforced a few long held beliefs and formed new ones (about amps I have not heard)

Why would you form opinions based on this? I take everything I read online with the worlds ocean's worth of salt. IOW I believe my experiences not what I read online.

Being very honest, if I was sheep that followed online trends my system would be vastly different to what it actually is.
 

Lizard King

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Why would you form opinions based on this? I take everything I read online with the worlds ocean's worth of salt. IOW I believe my experiences not what I read online.

Being very honest, if I was sheep that followed online trends my system would be vastly different to what it actually is.
I'm in the market for a pair of speakers. Had the opportunity to audition a few. My experiences is same as yours. In most cases my assessment was against their commonly accepted description. Maybe my ears are faulty :)
 

Decadent_Spectre

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I'm in the market for a pair of speakers. Had the opportunity to audition a few. My experiences is same as yours. In most cases my assessment was against their commonly accepted description. Maybe my ears are faulty :)

No my friend, the core of the issue is simple. People like different things (we won't even get into how people may perceive the same thing differently) and as such it's difficult to say anything about what we might prefer until we actually experience it ourselves. Whether it's audio or video the industry (and online A/V "radicals") push for their agenda (standards/money/reputation/reviews etc) to be adopted universally, whether its truly obnoxious objectivists or over the top pompous subjectivists. No one really cares about people's preferences that much unless it aligns with their agenda and that's really the core issue why so many people buy equipment and keep on upgrading, it's because they are being misguided (either intentionally or unintentionally) and that is precisely what both the audio and video industries want, to have misguided consumers with pockets that keep opening as they keep yearning and struggling to find the satisfaction that they will never get because they don't know what will give them that and no one really cares if they get what they want, they only care about their agenda.
 

shekarwrites

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I recently came across this categorization on the Whathifi forums. I realize this is a rather gross high level generalization without consideration of many variables such as type of amplifier, etc but I do feel generally brands and their designers have an overall idea of a design goal wrt the sound. I am curious to know what others on the forum think, and if you agree or disagree with this high level bucketing based on your experience.
View attachment 59248
Denon did not make it to the list
 

Amitdubey

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I recently came across this categorization on the Whathifi forums. I realize this is a rather gross high level generalization without consideration of many variables such as type of amplifier, etc but I do feel generally brands and their designers have an overall idea of a design goal wrt the sound. I am curious to know what others on the forum think, and if you agree or disagree with this high level bucketing based on your experience.
View attachment 59248
No sir... Can't be done. Generalisation is just not possible. No way. Nada! Possible only in cases where each of these brands have a typical house sound consistently across decades which is a rare phenomenon. For the same brand, across models and generations, house sound has actually changed. Eg: NAD AB class vs NAD old d class vs NAD new generation D class amplifiers. Also your cables( interconnects, plugs, speaker cables, speaker plugs, bi amping, room acoustics) just make so much of difference that it's unbelievable. Hegel is in neutral in the table but I would put Hegel in the warm category. Sounds horrible when paired with harbeths(warm again) making them too much of a good thing

I was a big cables are a snake oil thing kinda guy. But recently changed my rocket 22 cable to Kimber 4tc... And what a big change in the sound signature. Amp alone means nothing. How you use other components to play the balancing act towards a desired sound is everything. Very difficult to maintain a clean neutral chain to determine what an amp only always is and what it only always is not.

Uh huh..hmm...Nada, nope. Not happening! Can not generalise.
 

Analogous

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Why would you form opinions based on this? I take everything I read online with the worlds ocean's worth of salt. IOW I believe my experiences not what I read online.

Being very honest, if I was sheep that followed online trends my system would be vastly different to what it actually is.
:) The fact that we bothered to read this OP and respond indicates we all have opinions on this my friend!
Even trying to be different one needs to know what to do so as not to be same same.
In this forum we may perceive ourselves as black sheep, But the rest of the flock is multi colored!
 

Analogous

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I have personal experience with very few of the brands in the list. (Marantz, Parasound, Naim, Hegel, Primare) and heard several other brands at friends and other places. The brief adjectives used to classify the “house sounds” of these brands in the list match my opinions broadly. But the possibility that even within the same brand sound signature can vary between models and designs should be kept in mind - class AB vs class D (NAD, Primare).
 

sandeepmohan

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I'd avoid putting a category to amplifier brands. You can't possibly have 3 to 5 amplifiers as your genre of music changes. The idea is to find the one that suits your speaker (first) and your music (second).

From the list above, I'd shift Hegel to 1&5. I find them fun and exciting.
 

Lizard King

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I have personal experience with very few of the brands in the list. (Marantz, Parasound, Naim, Hegel, Primare) and heard several other brands at friends and other places. The brief adjectives used to classify the “house sounds” of these brands in the list match my opinions broadly. But the possibility that even within the same brand sound signature can vary between models and designs should be kept in mind - class AB vs class D (NAD, Primare).
What's your thought about Marantz class A/B vs their class D reference line? Do they sound different?
 

spirovious

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To me, sound signature depends upon model designed by company that year.
Say Cambridge audio A640 had warmer sound than A650. NAD C352 has transparent sound than C356. Most of the time company tries to maintain its signature though.
 

insane79

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Thanks ! But there are several expensive stereo amps in the offering by Denon. Are they bad ?
They aren't bad at all but are not their revenue making models. Their avrs are their bread & butter so they keeping coming with new avr models year by year. Most of the people who want to buy a High End Stereo Amp normally don't buy a Denon & their parent company themselves know that so they push Marantz in the Hifi segment more then Denon.
 
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