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Sound quality!!!

How about this question, what's the difference between a VW and a Kia, isn't a car a car?

All amps take a signal and amplify it but everytime you amplify something you also distort it. When an amp takes energy from your car and converts that energy it will either change that energy into sound or heat. The more heat an amp produces is a bad thing!!! So two of your greatest differences between one amp and another is in effeciency of operation and quality of sound besides quality of components.

Some people say they really liked the type of amp they had and will only stick with one brand, that's kind of opinion and luck its really kind of like a car.

Do you like your VW?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First and foremost, I do love my :b5:

Thank you for the answer. I really am just curious. I have no idea about htis stuff. So...the more heat it produces the more distorted it is? AM i wrong in making this association? Is that why heat is a bad thing? Is it wrong to stick with one brand that you have been happy with? I mean I know its not wrong, but are companies constantly coming up with new technology that clarifies amplified signal?

Is there any point in having a high end amp if you don't have high end speakers or vice cersa?
 

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Heat and distortion are two problems when looking at amplifiers. One of those issues can definitely be a catalyst for the other. Higher end amps will offer a cleaner signal and sound, better quality parts and worksmanship, and generally a better warranty. I'm not saying buy the most expensive amp out there but please don't settle for a pyramid or boss.

As far as amplifier technology not really much has changed. Probably within the next 2 years we will see more digital technology being incoporated into amplifiers such as the Alpine V12 series and the Panasonic head units with the built in digital amplifiers. Granted that's in the head unit but I figure there will probably be some way to directly connect a headunit to the amplifier prior to the signal being converted from digital to analog to get a cleaner signal.
 

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Preface: I don't know much about what separates one amp from another - it makes sense that a watt is a watt.

Not the case. Sadly, I have learned that in the world of automotive stereo equipment (as in most other worlds so to speak) you get what you pay for. that's not to say that a lower priced amp doesn't offer more bang for the buck though.....

I've gone with JL audio amps for quite a while....not the absolute best that $$ can buy and some might argue a bit overpriced but I have never been disappointed w/ their quality.

steve
 

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As long as you aren't clipping the holy hell out of the amp and there isn't a serious problem with the freq. response of the amps they should sound exactly the same if the levels are matched properly. Having said that, EVERYONE clips their systems, and more often than we like to think and THAT'S where the SQ differences come from, unless we're talking SS vs. tubes. If you find an amp that's in your price range, durable and has enough power you should be happy with it. Generally higher end amps are a lot more durable, put out WAY more than rated power and any built in processing will be more flexible. I'd do the JL over the Jensen, but not for any SQ reasons, only because it's a better made ampifier.


Paul :thumbup:
 

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There's also a ton of criteria to meet when measuring:

...Is that 100 watts with both channels driven or just 1 (both channels will pull more from the power supply)

...Is that 100 watts from 20 to 20,000 hertz or at 1000 hertz (it is much more difficult to maintain full rated power over the entire frequency range)

...Is that 100 watts at 0.05% THD or at 1% (its easy to measure higher power if you allow greater total harmonic distortion (THD))

...Is that 100 watts into a 4 ohm load, or bridged into a 4 ohm load (giving lower loads will increase the power output of the amp at the expense of heat- can be good if the amp will take it)

I am sure there are many more. Without all these criteria, you cant be sure you are even comparing the same power, let alone similar design or sound outputs. There is no solid regulation on how this stuff is measured, so they kind of just give it a marketable name (rarely do you see a "36 watts per channel- often they are sold as power ratings that fit nicely in competition classes- a 36 watt measured amp may be called a 50 watt amp, for instance).

My opinion is this:

I consider the amp to be the single most important piece in a car stereo. Many argue speakers are more important, but I have heard mediocre speakers on great amps and was pleased. I have also heard great speakers on mediocre amps and was disappointed. I still feel like car amps is a good example of "you get what you pay for." It is a pretty competitive market and, for the most part, if it costs noticeably more, it usually sounds noticeably better.
 

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j said:
It is a pretty competitive market and, for the most part, if it costs noticeably more, it usually sounds noticeably better.

If the amps are level matched (meaning they're putting out the same amount of power) and there aren't any signal altering circuits engaged and neither amp is clipping, they'll sound EXACTLY the same. SS amps nowadays are so similar in most respects, and the distortion is so low that the only time you'll hear a diiference between amps putting out the same amount of power is if one is clipping, there is some signal manipulation (i.e. eqs, crossovers, etc.) or one has a SERIOUS freq. response issue.

Most people, competitors and judges included, can't hear distortion until it's over 5% with music on mids and highs and over 10% on subs.

Don't take this as a "cheap amps are just as good" speech because there are some very real reasons to go with higher end amps, but unless you're overdriving it, SQ isn't one of them.

FWIW, the older Jensen Nitro amps were some phenomenal amps. Would I take it over a JL? Maybe. Depends on what I needed out of my amp.



Paul :thumbup:
 

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quality_sound said:
If the amps are level matched (meaning they're putting out the same amount of power) and there aren't any signal altering circuits engaged and neither amp is clipping, they'll sound EXACTLY the same. SS amps nowadays are so similar in most respects, and the distortion is so low that the only time you'll hear a diiference between amps putting out the same amount of power is if one is clipping, there is some signal manipulation (i.e. eqs, crossovers, etc.) or one has a SERIOUS freq. response issue...
Maybe, but there are several factors in determining exactly what is the true power of the amp (see my prevous post).

I am not an electrical engineer (mechanical, actually) but as I understand it, the components inside the amp can vary greatly by spec and brand. Not unlike any chip industry, all components will have specs and design limitations. If brand A is fine with the limitations on these components, because the price point is favorable, they will buy them. If brand B has a different set of criteria in mind, they wont- they may spend more for a higer level of build.

Just like the computer industry- all RAM is NOT the same, some costs more for good reason (some costs more because they can charge more, too :wink: ) I would bet there is a pattern with similar spec AND price amps for components, but I doubt that amps having the same specs for half the price have similar guts.

EVEN IF 2 amps come up with the same power rating under the same conditions, I cannot believe that two completely different brands of chip (op-amps, etc) within the amplifier can produce the same sound. In fact, I would bet they are very noticeably in different.
 

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j said:
Maybe, but there are several factors in determining exactly what is the true power of the amp (see my prevous post).
By definition, if the amps are level matched they are producing the same amount of real power. Also, the output power of the amp is pretty easily measured.

I am not an electrical engineer (mechanical, actually) but as I understand it, the components inside the amp can vary greatly by spec and brand. Not unlike any chip industry, all components will have specs and design limitations. If brand A is fine with the limitations on these components, because the price point is favorable, they will buy them. If brand B has a different set of criteria in mind, they wont- they may spend more for a higer level of build.
You're on the right track. Most of the parts used in modern SS amps are within a pretty tight tolerance window so their deviations are meaningless in this particular discussion. Will they affect product durability? Absolutely. Do they affect SQ, not unless thay cause DRASTIC freq. response deviations.

Just like the computer industry- all RAM is NOT the same, some costs more for good reason (some costs more because they can charge more, too :wink: ) I would bet there is a pattern with similar spec AND price amps for components, but I doubt that amps having the same specs for half the price have similar guts.
I never said they have the same guts, I said they sound the same when not being overdriven. Look at it this way, there are 2 cars driving at 50MPH. Car A's top speed is 100MPH and costs $50K. Car B's top speed is only 75MPH and only cost $10K. At 50MPH, other than the obvious build quality differences, is car A's 50MPH better? Same thing with amps.


EVEN IF 2 amps come up with the same power rating under the same conditions, I cannot believe that two completely different brands of chip (op-amps, etc) within the amplifier can produce the same sound. In fact, I would bet they are very noticeably in different.
Just because you can't believe it doesn't mean it's not true. Have you ever seen 1 million dollars in person? If not, does that mean it doesn't exist? There is a standing offer made by a person in the industry who will take 2 amps of your choosing, set up a proper double-blind listening test and give you the oppportunity to collect $10,000 if you can reliably identify which amp is which. To date, NO ONE, and hundreds have tried, have been able to collect. These were people within the home, pro and car audio fields whose job it is to be able to detect even the smallest deviations in sound and NONE of them could do it.

Think your ears are any better? :wink:



Paul :thumbup:
 

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quality_sound said:
... you can't believe it doesn't mean it's not true. Have you ever seen 1 million dollars in person? If not, does that mean it doesn't exist? There is a standing offer made by a person in the industry who will take 2 amps of your choosing, set up a proper double-blind listening test and give you the oppportunity to collect $10,000 if you can reliably identify which amp is which. To date, NO ONE, and hundreds have tried, have been able to collect. These were people within the home, pro and car audio fields whose job it is to be able to detect even the smallest deviations in sound and NONE of them could do it.

Think your ears are any better? :wink:



Paul :thumbup:
OUCH!

anyway, I have been in a couple industries, working for a few different companies. All have their own business model. They are usually similar, but ALWAYS have variance. I am betting Jensen and JL Audio have a different philosophy when it comes to business. One is more of a commodity attitude- lets make a million of something and make a dollar off each and we will make a million! The other is probably more like a quality attitude- lets make a thousand of something and make a thousand dollars off each and we will make a million!

Most take the former approach- you can make a good income for very little effort- kind of just rehash last years junk and market it as "new." A few take the latter approach, which usually requires more effort- more design effort, engineering effort, and better components.

Given this, the cost is usually greater as is the output. I would be very surprised to compare a $100.00/100 watt amp with an $800.00/100 watt amp and find they are the same output. To that end, the rating of the amp means very little to me- I often consider price equally to power rating (lets be honest here- ever consider running a 2x50 Jensen against an Orion HCCA250? How about a Phoenix Gold M50? A soundstream Reference ClassA 3.0?). Put simply, there is no regulation (to my knowledge) on how a manufacturer rates his equipment- take the power rating with a grain of salt!

I really dont know if I could pass the double blind test- not really sure I care. I build my system for my ears, to my liking; not for anyone elses. that is what I always recommend to anyone who asks- "you have to listen to it, make it how YOU like it!" I can only say, given the choice between a JL amp (or any reputable manufacturer) and a Jensen amp, I would be MUCH more comfortable recommending the JL.
 

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[quote="j]OUCH![/quote]

That was supposd to be sarcastic.



anyway, I have been in a couple industries, working for a few different companies. All have their own business model. They are usually similar, but ALWAYS have variance. I am betting Jensen and JL Audio have a different philosophy when it comes to business. One is more of a commodity attitude- lets make a million of something and make a dollar off each and we will make a million! The other is probably more like a quality attitude- lets make a thousand of something and make a thousand dollars off each and we will make a million!
I agree, but that doesn't change the way humans hear and percieve sound or how big a difference there needs to be before we can hear it.


Given this, the cost is usually greater as is the output. I would be very surprised to compare a $100.00/100 watt amp with an $800.00/100 watt amp and find they are the same output.
I never said they had the same output capability, I only said at MATCHED output levels, with no clipping. You can compare a 1000 watt amp and a 200 watt amp, both matched to say 100 watts, and they'll sound exactly the same. Price and max power output doesn't have anything to do with it.


To that end, the rating of the amp means very little to me- I often consider price equally to power rating (lets be honest here- ever consider running a 2x50 Jensen against an Orion HCCA250? How about a Phoenix Gold M50? A soundstream Reference ClassA 3.0?). Put simply, there is no regulation (to my knowledge) on how a manufacturer rates his equipment- take the power rating with a grain of salt!
Exactly!!!!! Power rating are comletely meaningless since there is no standard, but the CEA is looking to change that.

I really dont know if I could pass the double blind test- not really sure I care. I build my system for my ears, to my liking; not for anyone elses.
Then how can you say one amp sounds better than another if you can't pass this test? How can you say an amp makes the biggest difference in the system? How can you say they make abigger difference than the speakers which actually MAKE the sound? Can't have it both ways.


That is what I always recommend to anyone who asks- "you have to listen to it, make it how YOU like it!" I can only say, given the choice between a JL amp (or any reputable manufacturer) and a Jensen amp, I would be MUCH more comfortable recommending the JL.
I agree. But you can't recommend the JL over the Jensen because of the SQ differences because (and you basically just said you CAN'T hear a difference) there is no real difference. Sure the JL will probably make more power, is loads more flexible, better built and should be much more reliable, but as for sonic differences, there are none.


Paul :thumbup:
 

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quality_sound said:
...
I really dont know if I could pass the double blind test- not really sure I care. I build my system for my ears, to my liking; not for anyone elses.
Then how can you say one amp sounds better than another if you can't pass this test? How can you say an amp makes the biggest difference in the system? How can you say they make abigger difference than the speakers which actually MAKE the sound? Can't have it both ways.
I dont get your arguement- I say one amp can and often does sound better than another- for example, I would put my Reactor against ANYTHING Jensen makes and honestly believe ANYONE could tell the difference. Building MY system is a bit different than setting up and arranging a double blind comparision- am i missing your parrallel? By the way, my Reactor is "technically" rated at 150 watts (17.5 x 4 + 37.5 x 2 at 12 volts, all channels driven 20 to 20k, etc...)... show me a Jensen 150 that will keep up!

quality_sound said:
That is what I always recommend to anyone who asks- "you have to listen to it, make it how YOU like it!" I can only say, given the choice between a JL amp (or any reputable manufacturer) and a Jensen amp, I would be MUCH more comfortable recommending the JL.
I agree. But you can't recommend the JL over the Jensen because of the SQ differences because (and you basically just said you CAN'T hear a difference) there is no real difference. Sure the JL will probably make more power, is loads more flexible, better built and should be much more reliable, but as for sonic differences, there are none.
Paul :thumbup:
Again, not sure I get your arguement- I am saying get the $400.00 JL over the $100.00 Jensen because it will sound better- is this incorrect?

Also, how am i asking for it both ways? I have listened to many systems, often, people will upgrade speakers and leave the rest- sound is usually mediocre. BUT when they add on an amp to factory speakers, I am usually impressed. What is the most important componont- I kind of think this is an opinionated question- who makes the best car?... is my opinion wrong?

in closing... since i would rather just shut up than create an enemy out of you, quality, i am done on this thread. I dont see it going anyplace but down!

peace!
 

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j said:
I really dont know if I could pass the double blind test- not really sure I care. I build my system for my ears, to my liking; not for anyone elses.

Then how can you say one amp sounds better than another if you can't pass this test? How can you say an amp makes the biggest difference in the system? How can you say they make abigger difference than the speakers which actually MAKE the sound? Can't have it both ways.

I dont get your arguement- I say one amp can and often does sound better than another- for example, I would put my Reactor against ANYTHING Jensen makes and honestly believe ANYONE could tell the difference.
Only if the levels aren't matched. If you're so sure, take Richard Clark's double blind challenge. If you win, I'll give you my B5 on top of the $10,000 he'll give you.

Building MY system is a bit different than setting up and arranging a double blind comparision- am i missing your parrallel? By the way, my Reactor is "technically" rated at 150 watts (17.5 x 4 + 37.5 x 2 at 12 volts, all channels driven 20 to 20k, etc...)... show me a Jensen 150 that will keep up!
Compare it to a PG amp that's "actually" 150 watts and it will. i don't care what your amp is rated at. If it's rated at 150 and actually goes 600 then it's a 600 watt amp. End of story. You can't compare apples and oranges no matter what the box says they're "rated".

That is what I always recommend to anyone who asks- "you have to listen to it, make it how YOU like it!" I can only say, given the choice between a JL amp (or any reputable manufacturer) and a Jensen amp, I would be MUCH more comfortable recommending the JL.

I agree. But you can't recommend the JL over the Jensen because of the SQ differences because (and you basically just said you CAN'T hear a difference) there is no real difference. Sure the JL will probably make more power, is loads more flexible, better built and should be much more reliable, but as for sonic differences, there are none.
Paul :thumbup:

Again, not sure I get your arguement- I am saying get the $400.00 JL over the $100.00 Jensen because it will sound better- is this incorrect?

Assuming they're both playing at the same level and they are both capable of playing at that level without clipping, yes, you are incorrect.

Also, how am i asking for it both ways? I have listened to many systems, often, people will upgrade speakers and leave the rest- sound is usually mediocre. BUT when they add on an amp to factory speakers, I am usually impressed. What is the most important componont- I kind of think this is an opinionated question- who makes the best car?... is my opinion wrong?
First, opinions are never "wrong". But if you haven't been presented all the facts it's hard to make a complete opinion.
Second OEM systams can't be compared to aftermarket systems like that because they're drastically underpowered to begin with. ANY bump in power, even a decent aftermarket HU, will make a huge improvement in SQ. Not to mention the systems aren't the same so any results will be swewed. How CAN the speakers help if an OEM system is underpowered and clipping already with the OEM speakers?
If you take two adequately powered systems and change amps I guarantee there will little if any difference. If you take the time to match the levels of the new amp to the old one they'll sound exactly the same. If you take that same system and change speakers there will be a HUGE difference in the sound.


in closing... since i would rather just shut up than create an enemy out of you, quality, i am done on this thread. I dont see it going anyplace but down!

peace!
You aren't creating an enemy. I'm just trying to help further the audio education of a fellow CB5er. I've been doing tis for 13 (almost 14) years as a retailer, consumer and competitor. Just trying to spread some of what I've learned along the way. Ask any of the others that frequent the Mobile Electonics forum here and you'll see that I'm pretty active and wil typically go out of my way to help someone or teach them something new, even if it doesn't mesh with "conventional" widsom, like this thread.

No worries, it's all good!


Paul :thumbup:
 

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Darth Volkswagen said:
What is really the difference between different amps?

Isn't an watt a watt?

What makes some stand out more than others?
Better yet why do amps vary sooooo widely in price?
Quality, sry... one last point...

the initial question was why is one amp more than another amp for the same rating, the title implied Jensen vs. JL Audio.

My arguement is centered around the fact that they are simply not the same power, despite their ratings. Your arguement centers around, assuming they are the same power, they are the same.

I keep coming back to you get what you pay for, you keep coming back to [paraphrasing] "all things being equal, they are identical."

I dont see that the two arguements are incongruent.

once again... im out!

peace!
 

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I did get a bit off the track didn't I? :crazy: I do that sometimes.

Darth - If in fact they do put out the same amount of real power then you are right, a watt is a watt. The difference in the amps will be build quality, durability and built-in processing.
If you are comparing "rated" power, then J is correct, in all likelyhood the JL will put out more power (I've seen and tested a number of the JLs in the 90-95 watt/channel range).

Hopefully that was easier to follow and my inability to type as fast as I think didn't get in the way. :)

Paul :thumbup:
 
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