The question is very vague,there's no definitive answer,it's entirely up to you if it's worth it.S
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In a word, yes.
Like all things in this hobby, there are diminishing returns and its a personal decision where the spiraling expenses no longer justify more marginal improvements.
Many manufacturers choose to go with monoblocks when they design with no or fewer constraints. Separate power supplies, and other technical advantages make scientific sense. Shorter speaker cables vs. shorter interconnects is a whole debate in itself, but many will agree that a long run of balanced interconnects and short speaker cables makes a ton of sense.
IMHO, if you have high aspirations you will probably end up with monoblocks at some point. Most of the great systems I've heard had them, and I am not surprised. Cheers,
I suspect that part of the answer lies in the consideration of the amount of power available to provide transient dynamic range and also damping to control the speaker excursion to avoid spurious distortion. The separate power supply in each monoblock will have more current available on demand than a power amp sharing a common supply.
Also, assuming non-parallel cable runs near source components and /or good shielding properties in the cables used, crosstalk between adjacent channels is a non-issue when using the monoblocks.
I took the plunge several months ago and upgraded to the Parasound Halo JC-1 mono amps with the matching Parasound Halo JC-2 preamp. It took my system to a whole new level. If you go mono you will never go back- you will be spoiled forever. There is a reason that every amp manufacturer builds monos for their premier no holds barred designs. Before I took that huge jump in price I bought the very affordably priced Odessy Karatago mono amps at first and was so pleased with the result- that I pulled the trigger and went all in for the Parasond Halo's.
I have had both and it is really a case by case decision. To me the main advantage of monoblocks is that they can weigh considerably less than the two on the same chassis. But having them both on the same chassis simplifies grounding and connection problems; Martin Colloms gives this as the reason he usually prefers stereo over monoblocks. Really it depends more on the amp; right now I am using Meridian 605s, which are mono; CJ 350, which is stereo; and Musical Fidelity, which is stereo with a separate power supply. All are good but different.
My cdp is configured in two boxes, ie, separate power supply. My preamp as well, has an out-board power supply. I choose from 300b or 45 SET amplifiers. Both in a mono-block form. Mono block amplifiers are more expensive to build/buy. If you are adding nice PC's, now you need two. Oh, my speakers are also in a dual box set-up. I hope this helps :)
Too many variables to make categorical statements. Separate power supplies CAN make big difference, IF they are of sufficient build quality. Crosstalk is nonexistant, but that benefit can be negated by other sonic factors. It all depends on to what stereo amps the monoblocks are being compared, quality wise and how the monoblocks are configured, within a system. Personally; I like 'em.
I have owned many different high end stereo amps and monoblocks. They have all sounded good to me, but you have to remember each amp has it's own sound. If the monoblocks sound better in your system, and you prefer the set up (length of speaker cables and interconnects, set up off your main rack) and price increase then go for it. I don't think you can go wrong with a good monoblock or stereo amp.
All things being equal, though they rarely ever are...mono blocks offer one important element--better channel separation.
Crosstalk from channel to channel and suspect power supplies are the bane of some Stereo designs, hence 'we're dual mono designs' from people like Gryphon.
If nothing else the separation can give a more satisfying stereo rendition...a notable goal.
The issue of monoblocks vs stereo is more than just cosmetics.
Normally, stereo amplifiers share a common power supply. Some manufacturers will go through the extra effort (and cost) to build separate power supplies in the same box, but if single supplies are used, quite often this is audible as a compromise in the amplifier. Even if common grounds are used there can be problems; anyone who has heard the difference between 3-wire headphones and 4-wire headphones will know exactly what I am talking about! (In case that last comment sounds odd to you, there is such a thing as a 4-wire hookup for headphones, and you can hear the difference in a heartbeat.)
Another benefit of monoblocks is that they allow the amplifier to be placed as close to the speaker as possible. This minimizes the effect of the speaker cable. In all cases, the longer you make the speaker cable, the more artifact it imposes on the sound you get (usually less bass impact and less definition- for example vocals can be made out easier with shorter speaker cables).
Of course, this means you may need longer interconnects. If your equipment rack is between the speakers, this may not be an issue at all. I have my equipment rack by my listening chair, so I run long interconnects (30 feet) but the preamp I use has no trouble driving lengths like that.
While there is always the YMMV factor, and while not all things are equal, you *will* find that the stereo amplifiers that sound better then their monoblock brethren are a distinct minority.
A more useful question might be, if you spend the same money, is an integrated, Pre/Power, Pre Monoblocks, better. Depending on the price and other variables, I suspect it is the integrated. This has to be more cost effective, with one chassis and power chord, against 3. There are several integrated amps I could happily live with forever, including the Pathos Inpol2, I use now.
If cost is no object, then logically it has to be the Pre/monoblock. Is'nt cost an issue for all of us? Perhaps not
Ralph and others,
I am curious about whether the issues surrounding monoblocks also generally apply to low-powered amps. The lowest power Atmasphere amp, the S-30, is the only non-monoblock in the line. Is this just to hit a specific price point or is there less need for the separation that monos provide for low powered amps? I also don't see many SET amps that are monos.
No not really is my opinion but thats merely because my speakers dont need power so much .
The difference of monoblocks to a stereoversion is in the transformersection of the amp ,at least with krell and mark levinson , as far as i have read.
The transformers and caps are (overbuilt ) in the monos .
That usually improves dynamics and control .
So with a very current hungry ("big")speaker i would say go for mono if not a stereoversion woul be sufficient
Roscoeiii, the size of the amp is not important in this conversation- the benefits are the same. Price certainly has a lot to do with it too. You have an extra chassis, and certainly the need for more power transformers. These can be some of the most expensive parts in the amp.
In the S-30, the filament transformer is shared between the two channels. The B+ transformer has separate windings for each channel. In the driver supply, there are separate power supply legs for each channel. Since the driver is fully differential, it has fairly constant power draw on it, but even so we found it better sounding by having separate legs in the power supply.
Had we built the amp on separate chassis, it would have cost nearly as much as the M-60.
for example the krell evo 302 has a 3000 VA transformer
The krell i have at the moment has 4000 VA per channel 8000 VA in total while its only 100 watts more , that was the main reason i bought it over a ML 436 which has much less .
Thats why krell monos are animals .
Oh and 1 thing i forgot a big powersupply has a lot to do with good basperformance ,another reason to go mono.
There is a clear cut difference as to why in theory dual monoblocks have an advantage unless of course the stereo amp is a dual monophonic design. Depending on the circuit design, stereo amps which use the same power supply for both channels is at a disadvantage. Power supplies can be taxed by the circuit it's feeding and this is multiplied by having it power a second channel. Usually, the sonic attributes of a using two monoblocks include a greater sense of depth, better inter-transient silence ( blackness around instruments in space), greater detail within that space, better sense of stage, and increased transient performance. In addition, an improvement might also be heard by powering each monoblock amp from a separate electrical circuit. This offers better isolation from channels