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Monoblocks are two separate amplifiers, one for the left channel, and one for the right. Two monoblocks are needed for a stereo set, and home theater applications can use three or more. You definately get reduced crosstalk, because each channel uses its own separate power supply. You can also place your amps closer to your speakers, reducing the length of speaker cables needed. But you will probably need two sets of power cords(if you are into that thing), and perhaps longer interconnects, depending on where you locate your amps. If you do not know what monoblocks are, or are new to the hobby, perhaps a single stereo amp is best. But if you have the cash and room, or are into serious home theater, its an excellent way to go! (-: Regards, Bill M.
Instead of being stereo amps, a monoblock only amplifies one channel. That is, you need two of them in order to drive a stereo pair of speakers. While this may seem like taking the concept of separates to an absurd limit, there are benefits to be had in terms of stereo separation - hard for one channel to affect another when they are in different boxes. But the most significant benefit comes from being able to locate each amp close to the speaker it is driving. This means shorter speaker cables which is a very good thing. It does however mean another amp stand, another power cable, issues over lengths of interconnects required, wife acceptance factor etc. I also suspect there is an element of "cool" to it - the graduation to monoblocks signalling the entering of high-end arcana.
Without going into the theory of it (enough's been said in the previous postings) I can tell you that when I 'upgraded' from a very very good stereo power amp (Sim Audio's Celeste 4250SE) to a pair of Legacy monoblocs I felt, let's say a 20 % difference in sound. Pl. note I didn't say 'improvement', but a difference. I consider that difference an improvement but opinions may vary. It wasn't a very pure experiment of course because a) my speakers are Legacy and there may be a better match betw. them and the monoblocs and b) the monoblocs produce 800 into 4 each while Sim did only 500 into 4 per channel. Still, unless you want to go nuts and spend a lifetime on all this matching crap, etc., I think it was a good enough experiment. I stayed with the monos. Also pl. note that interconnects MUST be short, pref. as short as possible, because the signal that travels in them is low power signal and (if you take cable talk seriously of course) you can lose more of the signal in interconnects than in speaker wire (where the signal generated by power amps is very very strong). So, if you can't place all your stuff betw. speakers with short inteconnects and short speaker wire betw. monos and speakers go for short interconnects and longer speakerwire, which I did. And I'm very happy. Just don't lose the forest for the trees, that is music for the sound. Good luck.
All of you are quite incorrect. Monoblock amplifiers are a special breed of amplifier created back in the Phil Spector 'Golden' era of recording. They are specially designed to reproduce mono recordings. People in the know have commented on their surrealistic realism as compared to stereo, or more so the new quattro amps we are seeing from the slavic* regions. *home stereo.
An amp category that fits between Stero amps and mono-bloc amps is the dual-mono amp. And I think it is an excellent way to go. The dual mono amp essentially has two amplifiers contained in one chassis. I've never owned mono-blocs, and have always questioned whether or not two separate amps can truly be matched, ie sound identical. Of course, to some extent, you could say the same thing about dual mono amps, or any true balanced component. To illustrate this, I have two Sonic Frontiers Ultra Jitter Bugs-- theorhetically they are identical, but in practice one sounds relaxing and laid back and the other is distinctly more aggressive. I called SF about this and they just said that is normal manufacturing variation, and they wern't interested in doing anything about it. Of course there was no attempt to specifically match these components, but it sure was an ear opener to me about manufacturing variability. And I was amazed that I could even detect a difference between the two. Still, decisions have to be made, and I chose to go with the dual mono McCormack DNA-2DX rather than DNA-1DX mono-blocs. There are quite a few excellent dual mono amps on the market including the Krell FPB series, Levinson dual monos (although Levinson didn't work well in my system-- too analytical), and others. Easy listening.
As stated earlier:
Stereophonic consist of two separate channels. A right channel and a left channel to mimic what your two ears perceive.
A mono-Amplifier is an amplifier that amplifies one signal only. more of this latter.
The purpose of a mono amp for music reproduction purposes is:
1. Stereo amplifier (not dual mono stereo amps), amplifies a right and left stereo signals. They typically consisted of separate amplifier circuits but used the same power supply for both right and left channel circuitry.
The typical justifiable reason for mono block amplifiers is that the power supplies for mono blocks ("typically") are more robust than a single stereo amplifier's power supply.
However, there are stereo amplifiers that have correctly designed power supplies and therefore, you really won't hear a difference between that stereo amp and two identical (specs) mono amps.
There are amplifiers designed and constructed as dual mono amplifiers. They are basically two separate mono amps inside the same enclosure. They may share the power supply cable, but nothing else, and, if the power cord is designed correctly, you have no issues.
If you read the information pages from Nelson Pass on power supply design, you will see what it takes to correctly design power supplies.
The difference in cable length related to sound quality in my opinion is negligible. If the stereo amp is directly between the two speakers and mono amps are moved slightly closer to each speaker or behind them, we are only talking about a few feet difference. If one can hear difference in this case, then they have great ears and the cables are poorly designed in the first place. Add five more feet to correctly designed speaker cables, and one shouldn't hear a difference. If you are using balanced interconnect cables you definitely won't hear a difference. If you are using standard RCA cables that are well designed, add another five feet....you shouldn't hear a difference.
I wouldn't worry about cable lengths.
Its the power supplies that make the difference.