Let me end the Premp/Amplifier sound debate ...

I'm old enough to remember Julian Hersch from Audio magazine and his very unscientific view that all amplifiers sounded the same once they met a certain threshold.  Now the site Audio Science Review pushes the same.

I call these views unscientific as some one with a little bit of an engineering background as well as data science and epidemiology.  I find both of these approaches limited, both in technology used and applied and by stretching the claims for measurements beyond their intention, design and proof of meaning.

Without getting too much into that, I have a very pragmatic point of view.  Listen to the following three amplifier brands:

  • Pass Labs
  • Luxman
  • Ayre

If you can't hear a difference, buy the cheapest amplifier you can.  You'll be just as happy.  However, if you can, you need to evaluate the value of the pleasure of the gear next to your pocket book and buy accordingly.  I don't think the claim that some gear is pure audio jewelry, like a fancy watch which doesn't tell better time but looks pretty.  I get that, and I've heard that.  However, rather than try to use a method from Socrates to debate an issue to the exact wrong conclusion, listen for yourself.

If you wonder if capacitors sound different, build a two way and experiment for yourself.  Doing this leaves you with a very very different perspective than those who haven't. You'll also, in both cases, learn about yourself.  Are you someone who can't hear a difference?  Are you some one who can? What if you are some one who can hear a difference and doesn't care?  That's fine.  Be true to yourself, but I find very little on earth less worthwhile than having arguments about measurements vs. sound quality and value. 

To your own self and your own ears be true.  And if that leads you to a crystal radio and piezo ear piece so be it.  In my own system, and with my own speakers I've reached these conclusions for myself and I have very little concern for those who want to argue against my experiences and choices. 



I can hear a very slight difference but listening to Youtube doesn’t prove anything. The OP can speak for himself but my position is different amps that measure close and are not driven outside their limits would be very hard if not impossible to tell apart. Listening to your tracks if I didn’t know which was which I couldn’t tell the tube from the SS. You should not have labeled them and I doubt these 2 amps measure similar. 

Then you need to "up your game" and listen on better equipment or headphones. The difference is very noticable on even a decent system.


After all, this is an audio forum. No one would expect to go to a gaming site and expect to be competative using less than high definition resolution and a fast video card, nor would they expect others to "dumb down" their systems to accomodate them.


Initially, they were not labled, but everyone on the other forum was still able to hear the differences and pretty much know which was which, so I went back and put the lables on.

If all amps at a certain level all sound the same, why does anyone bother auditioning them?

All amps of a certain quality level DO sound the same. They all sound great 😀

I hear some subtle differences in tone, but that is it. So, you win. Now what ? I still cannot judge the " sound ", and the " personality ", of an amp over YT, and it is not my ears, nor my system. Maybe, I just don't care. Enjoy !