What Is More Important?

bommer

Wammer
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what has the most significance when it comes to determining

the sound we hear through our speakers,a well engineered pre

or is the power amp just as important in the chain of things!

 

dudywoxer

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sunny scunny
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colin
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I would have thought they both mattered. The pre will determine the overall sound balance, clarity, soundstage etc. but the powers have to make the cones move.

 
A

Alex A

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Assuming that you have a power amp suitable for the speakers (whether that be cheap or expensive), then I would expect the preamp to be the more critical link.

 

rockmeister

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bearing in mind that you dont really want a pre at all in the chain, surely the power amp (quad's 'straight wire with gain') is the bit that matters most?

 
E

earl of sodbury

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Hi John, Nice to see you back in circulation
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif


Back on topic - personally I think a good balance of competence, and most of all, synergy between components is more important than any one component's ability, though I admit speakers usually have more ability to colour the final sound than any other one item.

 

Papa Lazarou

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IME the pre-amp oftenhas more influence on the sound of a system than the power amp. Ideally neither should have any influence at all and let the source do all the talking.

 
A

Alex A

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rockmeister wrote:

bearing in mind that you dont really want a pre at all in the chain, surely the power amp (quad's 'straight wire with gain') is the bit that matters most?
Well no. You could instead argue that because it's the bit you really don't want in the chain that it is the most important part to get right: You need it to sonically disappear, present an appropriate load to the source and feed the power amp properly. These things aren't easy.

Every time I've tried sticking CDP with electronic volume into a power amp it's been significantly better when I've stuck a good appropriate pre-amp between the two. There are rare exceptions like Wadia of course.

 

mikehit

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The question can be answered in a more than one way.

They are all equally important in that if one is poor quality (or mismatched) then the whole chain collapses. But that is being pedantic. I think one way to think about it is to look at the size of the market and the variety of technologies available that will give an indication of how manytheories there are ondesign.

There are zillions of speaker designs which reflects the variety of musical styles you can create by changing the speaker. They are mechanical tranducers with many variables - materials used for the cones etc, crossover specifications, quality of cabinet construction, degree of internal bracing etc etc etc so there is more to play with in their design. It is also the bit that interacts with the room - get that wrong and no amount of money spent on amplification will correct it.

Next I think would come the pre-amp - it is taking a small signal and has to amplify it with minimal distortion and avoiding the introduction of noise. And you can have the choice of passive or active pre-amps.

The the power-amp is, IMO, a more mature market than either of the other two - it is taking a signal of reasonable strength and should be easier to get right because noise (from the mains, RFI, etc) is proportionately less than in the pre-amp section.

I have met only a few people with separate pre- and power amps but they seem to be of the view that they buy a good power amp and 'fine tune' the amplification by trying different pre-amps.

Overall I think it is easier to get the speakers wrong than any other component.

 

Steveh

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rockmeister wrote:

bearing in mind that you dont really want a pre at all in the chain, surely the power amp (quad's 'straight wire with gain') is the bit that matters most?
Agree. Passive preamp is just a ( transparent ideally) input/output switching device.

Different I guess if preamp has gain, because it is amplifying(and possibly distorting) the signal.

The Music First passive cost £1600, and is recognised as one of the best ever.

 

uzzy

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Steveh wrote:

rockmeister wrote:
bearing in mind that you dont really want a pre at all in the chain, surely the power amp (quad's 'straight wire with gain') is the bit that matters most?
Agree. Passive preamp is just a ( transparent ideally) input/output switching device.

Different I guess if preamp has gain, because it is amplifying(and possibly distorting) the signal.

The Music First passive cost £1600, and is recognised as one of the best ever.
Ooer I don't agree - recognised by whom and by how many?

This is an unanswerable in that we all have our own ears and opinions I guess.

For what it is worth I agree that synergy is important in that a good power amplifier can be let down by a bad or mismatched pre and vice versa. I have tried direct inject and passive pre amps but to my ears the sound is better through a good powered pre.

What is certain is that I think many of us will agree to disagree with most of the postings on this one.

 

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