In general, monoblocks are better than multi-channel amps, mainly for 2 reasons:
1) Separate power supplies provide more instantaneous current to the output stage.
2) Because the L/R circuitry is housed in separate chassis, there is no interaction between the two (better separation and soundstaging)
Whether the added cost is worth it depends on your priorities, wallet and space.
Yes, assuming each units specs are in fact equal. The thing that gives the monoblocks an edge is that they are separate power supplies so each channels load does not impact the other, a problem when a single unit is used.
Agree with Buconero. Very few multichannel amps can run maximum power to BOTH channels at the same time. And amps with more than two channels never can run all of them full rated power and keep it up.
Typically, when a manufacture produces mono blocks they will use higher level components and beefier power supplies etc. Everything is built to a price point, and mono blocks are generally the manufactures statement product.
Yes, BUT: That does not mean cheap mono blocks from company A are better than a we11 designed multi-channel amp from company B.
Or that dual monos in a single case aren't just as good as separate monos. Dual power supplies are a step up but still don't beat monos for channel separation or crosstalk which really is the point imo.
Good thing I used words like "typically" and "generally".
Also dual monos on a single chassis tend to get very heavy and large.
I would agree a top level and high standard built stereo chassis would likely out perform a modest design and built monoblock amplifier.
However when companies offer both choices or go 'all out'their monoblock version is the upper tier amplifier with rare exceptions Same as when a product can be silver or copper(cables,amp wiring,transformer windings etc.), the silver version within a line is the upper level version.
Monoblocks take up too much space for my purposes, otherwise all good. I think another good idea is to buy well designed stereo amps that can be converted to mono when you have the budget (and/or space) to get another one. The conversion is often easy (or ready to go in the design) and you're jammin' as soon as "amp 2" arrives. If I did this with my current Jolida 502p I'd have 2 monos making 120 watts each for under $2500 total for both sides...and be able to shut off the winter heat in my listening room.
most companies would put their best parts and design efforts into a monoblock pair than their stereo amplifier (which typically costs less of course). so for that reason alone the monoblocks are going to outperform the stereo amp most of the time. add the improved ventilation and the physical separation of parts that can pick up noise if located closer together and you have further gains.
better circuit pathways in a monoblock along with upgraded board materials that improve conductivity add still more benefits. in some cases monoblocks make more watts as well, so they have more headroom.
the exception is a stereo amp built to very high standards, perhaps with two
power cords coming out the back making it a dual monoblock on one chassis.
and of course not everyone has the ability to locate two amplifiers whether or not they have the extra money. there are such amps available, and you can spend an arm and a leg and even a kidney on them (FM Acoustics?).
An excellent example of this is the old Dynaco Stereo 70, a venerable 35 watt tube amp. Dynaco made something called the Mark IV, which was the exact same parts and construction except for the power transformer (which was a little smaller than the one on the Stereo 70) on a mono chassis.
The Mark IVs are obviously better amps.
This is the best example I can think of to demonstrate what we are talking about here in the OP, which is:
**All other things being equal, the monoblock amplifier will always be better.**
Less crosstalk, less IMD, lower noise, etc translates to smoother sound, better soundstage, more bass authority etc.
The other age-old argument is being able to place the mono next to the speaker letting you run short speaker cables and long interconnects vs short IC and long speaker cables. It's what I do, but there is no definitive answer to THAT question. Buy used, try it and see for yourself.
Balanced configuration is where you'll probably realize an improvement there.
Equal budget integrated amps are the best.
Integrated amps as monoblocks?
No, but I do think you need to spend lots of money before mono amps or even pre/power amps become better then integrated amps. Integrated amps like the ASR emitter, Symphonic Line Kraftwerk, Pass ect. Give same priced separates a run for their money.
Mordante: I would like to hear a quality integrated some day as I'm aware there are some fine ones out there but that being said I have some reservations about any integrated in the $2000.00 price range sounding better than my JWN Eico mono rebuilds
There are some VERY nice sounding integrated amps on the market, BUT typically, integrated amps within the same manufactures line-up can be bettered by their separate stereo or mono block brethren.