From a purely philosophical basis, a pair of mono amps just HAS to sound better than a stereo amp of similar circuitry and construction, right? For example, I've never compared a pair of McIntosh 75's to the 275 (which is always in higher demand than a pair of the mono amps), but no less a Mac authority than Steve Rowell of Audio Classics told me decades ago that a pair of 75's will wipe the floor with a 275. I was commenting at the time that a pair of 75s was always cheaper than a 275; the price disparity seems to have continued to this day.
Just as true believers readily acknowledge that a pair of McIntosh 75s will kick the booty of a 275, Marantzophiles know that a pair of 5s beats an 8. Right??
I *THINK* so, but I don't KNOW so. The rarity of the Model 5's (like this pair for sale
) has a lot to do with that. In comparison, 8's and 8b's seem to be falling out of trees. I've heard all three models (four if you consider the 8b a distinct model), but have never A-B'd them. Anybody? Buehler? Buehler??
I have a confession to make. This won't shock anyone who has read more than one of my entries, but here goes: I'm not a tech- expert. I'm a middle-aged guy who has spent way too much time buying, selling and occasionally (!) listening to audio gear. Do I have a philosophical construct in place, as a result of my experience? Kinda: everything matters, but sometimes, none of it makes sense.
I think of it as zen meets gestalt, or my karma ate your dogma. I know enough to know that the more I know, the less I understand. Don't expect me to quote from Don Henley again.
My point is that while I can provide some generalities as to why two monos are greater than one essentially-similar stereo, I'm not one of those guys who can look at a schematic and say, "well, that's because this has a long-tailed emitter and this one has a speckled flycatcher." Or whatever.
So what I hope to do is provoke those hands-on experts out there to submit your opinions, experience and expertise on this topic. I know a little about a lot, but I'm more likely to be able to tell you who played Mr. Green Jeans on Captain Kangaroo (A: Lumpy Brannum. Really.) than why 5s beat an 8. Or 8b.
Having laboriously explained that I'm not to be trusted as a tech-expert, let's look at the tape... or schematics, in this case. John Atwood's educational and comprehensive website "One Electron" has a bit of everything, including schematics. LOTS of schematics. If you go to this web page
and scroll down, you'll find schematics for both the 5 and the 8. Incidentally, John's ClariSonus blog elsewhere on that site, is always an interesting read.
So, armchair EEs! Tell us what you see by comparing the 5 and the 8. Anybody compared the two by, y'know, LISTENING? Let's hear about your experiences.
Really, that's it for me. Discuss amongst yourselves, and report back to me!