Image and Power

No, not about Donald Trump ;-)

A recent amp installation continues to stun and amaze.

How is it possible to achieve such width and depth? I have been able to separate my speakers by a couple additional feet without losing the center stage. The width is enormous and at times seems to locate sounds even wider than the walls. The depth is equally satisfying, but what I can't figure out is how I am getting the illusion of height. Listening to a particular cd last night there were times I could identify sound in the vertical plane. How is this possible from two point sources? What a treat...It was eerie, and had it been years ago in my more hallucinogenic days I would have freaked..;-)

A question about power. Current = Good?
More Current=Better?

Having big current only helped the last amp in the system when played at higher spl. At low listening levels it had a rather austere thin character, but as the volume went up it would hit a point where it would suddenly start to sing. I notice this new (tube) amp has much more full character at low and normal listening levels, but I am sure it has nowhere near the current capability. I had thought it was my speakers that were demanding more power, but the relative low power of this new amp reversed that idea. What gives? Tube current vs SS current different? How?

Any ideas or comments of your experience appreciated

Just random thoughts here...

Many tubes amps sound "warmer" due to shifts in tonal balance. Due to various output impedances and speaker input impedances, this can change from system to system and even at various drive levels. As one might surmise, "added warmth" will act somewhat as a "loudness" control and help to balance the sound out at lower volume's.

As far as your past amp "coming alive" at higher volume levels, my experience with such products is that the bias is set too low for optimum sonics. Increasing the bias maintains a more consistent and cohesive presentation by reducing the switching distortion between different classes of operation i.e. from A to B.

In terms of the spatiality of the new amp, tubes are typically higher or "richer" in harmonic distortion than SS design. Harmonic's are higher frequency overtones generated from the original signal. By increasing the content of high frequency information via added harmonics, our ability to localize different sounds is increased. Varying the amplitude and frequency of those harmonics will alter our sensitivity to such factors.

While i'm not knocking them and have paid compliments to them in the past due to their "warmth", "musicality" and "spaciousness", Cary amps are prime examples of the above ideas. They are quite non-linear in operation ( both frequency response and distortions ), yet they are very spacious and enjoyable to listen to. There is a reason that music lovers talk about "Cary magic" and it has to do with both the tonal balance / warm & smooth presentation along with the spatial characteristics that one observes.

If you put 2+2 together, you might see some similarities between their presentation and what i've mentioned above. Sean

PS... after John Atkinson measured a Krell and a Cary in the same issue of Stereophile, he said something to the effects of "If one of these amps is right, the other is broke". They measured SO differently that he was stunned that they could both sound good, but in very different ways.
Thanks Sean for your enlightening response.

I had removed the cover of the SS to see if there were any adjustments that I might give a whack at. I saw nothing that would tempt me, and let it be.

I like your example by Atkinson. The more I dig at Google re: tubes vs SS I find it appears to be a touchy sort of subject--sort of like Shimano vs Campagnolo in the road cycling world ;-) (my other hobby) I followed an extended thread on Audio Asylum that looked like WWIII, heheh.

I was hoping to draw out some interesting stories of all you folks knowledgable perspective, but it seems the SS/tube threads have been overdone and folks are reluctant to open the can ;-)

It boils down to system and preference eh? There's a butt for every cushion...