Home | Audio Reviews | Audio Shows | Partner Mags | News     

 

Enjoy the Music.com

Issue 139    September 2016
In Focus: High-End Audio Amplification
Editorial By Alan Sircom

 

Hi-Fi+ Magazine139 September 2016

 

  Amplifiers get something of a bum steer in audio. They are the part that pulls the audio system together, they are complex and diverse components that could just as easily feature a 100 year old tube as a state-of-the-art amplifier module, and they need to cover everything from phono equalisers and built-in DACs to headphone outputs and home theatre bypasses. Yet they are the most prone to 'it all sounds the same' criticisms.

 

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. With an increasing power supply burden from a range of digital and analogue inputs and outputs being included on an amplifier, the onus is on amp designers not to impose a sonic penalty on the audio system. We are also seeing a remarkable state of flux in amplifier design, both in terms of output device choice, and in terms of what a product might conceivably be connected to today.

 

There are some who see the inclusion of headphone amplifiers as beyond the scope of the amplifier 'proper', but our reaction to that mind-set is to wonder if they consciously avoid the rest of the 21st Century, too. The landscape of high-end audio has changed significantly in the last few years, and products that might not have been considered eligible to join the club have improved immeasurably and are now demanding entrance.

 

We're also seeing a distinct trend in amp design: a conscious move away from the high-end being represented purely by pre-power designs. Instead, we are seeing the continued rise of the one-stop-shop amplifier, which combines digital and analogue sources and inputs and takes over the role traditionally played by a separate phono stage, DAC, preamplifier, power amplifier, and more. We think keeping the box count down is a good thing, especially when you work as a reviewer and your house becomes something of a shrine to cardboard! However, from the standpoint of power consumption, domestic tranquillity, and even sound quality, 'small' no longer means 'compromise'.

 

In a very real way, running regular themed issues like this gives one a very real sense of how the audio industry is changing and growing. The late Peter Walker of Quad unleashed a meme on the audio industry, that runs "all competently designed amplifiers, working within their desired operating levels, sound the same." What we are seeing here is those desired operating levels are expanding apace. We now have the electronics with the headroom, the dynamic range, and the bandwidth to handle any signal or speaker!

 

 


Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

 

Videos
Enjoy the Music.TV

 

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Show Reports
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2023
Capital Audiofest Show 2022
KL International AV Show 2022
Toronto Audiofest Show 2022
CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Report
T.H.E. Show 2022 Report
HIGH END Munich 2022
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
CanJam Singapore 2022 Report
Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest 2022
Click here for previous shows.

 

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

 

Partner Print Magazines
audioXpress
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Sound Practices
The Absolute Sound
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

 

 

    

Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright©  1995 - 2023  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.