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Why We Love Mono Block Amplifiers So Much?

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Robin

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Lately, I have been wondering why ML owners love Tubed and / or SS "Mono Block" amplifiers so much? What is it exactly that draws us to the mono block amplifier design? Is it just because we own ML electrostatic hybird speakers? Or is it because especially for "Two Channel" or "Stereo" music listening we crave sigular mono direct ampification - a purer sound without disruption or cross-channel interferrance? What do you think?
IMHO, I think their is something classically beautiful about the mono block amplifier simplicity of design either Tubes or SS :D :
 

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aliveatfive

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I'd bet any amount of money you couldn't tell a mono bloc from a stereo amp if you were blindfolded.
 

roberto

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Robin said:
Lately, I have been wondering why ML owners love Tubed and / or SS "Mono Block" amplifiers so much? What is it exactly that draws us to the mono block amplifier design? Is it just because we own ML electrostatic hybird speakers? Or is it because especially for "Two Channel" or "Stereo" music listening we crave sigular mono direct ampification - a purer sound without disruption or cross-channel interferrance? What do you think?
IMHO, I think their is something classically beautiful about the mono block amplifier simplicity of design either Tubes or SS :D :
Hola Robin...I think that the reason is because each mono amp is driving only one channel, and the power supply of the amp is just for that particular channel. ML reveals any kind of amplifiers, and due to this, the mono amps are more transparent to our ears. This does not means that a good sterero amp. could have a super power supply and it could sound great. But our ears are very complicated, and can hear many good and bad things easelly. Usually, we like better the mono blocks, because we can hear this clean and transparent thing that usually it is not present with a good stereo amp. On the other hand, on a stereo amp. you only have one power supply for both channels. This is why some brands like Mark Levinson, Bryston, Mesa Baron, to name a few, uses two power amps in a single chassis, and some models also, the only thing in common between the channels is the mains A.C. cable. Everything is double...two transformers, two power supplies, etc...Happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 
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miljac

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I believe that a possible plus for the monoblocs would be shorter speaker cables.
Wish I had some of those beauties :)
 

twich54

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miljac said:
I believe that a possible plus for the monoblocs would be shorter speaker cables.
Wish I had some of those beauties :)
good point, which leads to another , is it better with short speaker cables and longer interconnects or the other way around ???
 

zaphod

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twich54 said:
good point, which leads to another , is it better with short speaker cables and longer interconnects or the other way around ???

long interconnects.

putting amps near the speakers is why i love MB, that and the "cross channel" issues to which Robin alluded.

l
 

miljac

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I'd say especially when you have balanced connections ;)
 

kwr

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aliveatfive said:
I'd bet any amount of money you couldn't tell a mono bloc from a stereo amp if you were blindfolded.
Second this even though we use a monobloc architecture in both our systems. I think the biggest advantage of monoblocs is their bringing of relatively large power supplies in a manageable package. The crosstalk argument is spurious I think.

Quite a few stereo amps utilise a dual mono architecture with separate transformers. Would be interesting to see if the same circuit in separate chassis had any effect.

Kevin
 

Robin

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Beautiful Monoblocks...

zaphod said:
long interconnects.

putting amps near the speakers is why i love MB, that and the "cross channel" issues to which Robin alluded.

l
zaphod,

I just wish I could put these, "Lamm Industries" monoblocks near my Ascent i's for a few minutes:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue15/lamm1.1.htm

Their would be no cross-talk, as I would be the talk of the town... :D At the small fee of 23K for the Lamm1.1 of course I'd be in the poor house, but what-the-hey. ;)
 

tonyc

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I think it is because monoblocks soundstage better and because they typically have more power (headroom) than their stereo brethren.
 

Joey_V

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Why?

Same reason why I like dual mono designs... the word "MONO" just sounds sooo cool.

Joke joke! :D

Say it with me.... "MONO"!!

What do you have? I have MONOBLOCKS!! That's right... MONOBLOCKS! ;)
 

DTB300

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Joey_V said:
Same reason why I like dual mono designs... the word "MONO" just sounds sooo cool.
Not once you have had the illness "Mono"...that is not cool.... :D

Dan
 

Chucky

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Not familiar with tubes. They look cool. Do they last a long time?(bulbs) Are the bulbs hard to get?
 

kwr

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kwr said:
Quite a few stereo amps utilise a dual mono architecture with separate transformers. Would be interesting to see if the same circuit in separate chassis had any effect.

Kevin
Doh - I can answer my own question. We run two Plinius SA102 bridged to power the Monoliths. Simple to try one as stereo and then just use one channel of each to effectively be one channel monobloc as they have dual mono architecture. There is the ability to switch easily between stereo and bridging. Tested in Class A with both amps on same circuit as the current draw should be constant.

I listened with symphonic, choral, small group jazz. Volume matched with test tone and Radio Shack meter.I could not discern a difference between stereo or monblocs although wondered if it was more dynamic with monbloc single channel. Two power cords?? - still same crappy distribution strip.

What there was no question about was the quality gain of a lot of watts when the amps are bridged as monoblocs. At the same volume the quality of the Monoliths bass improves hugely and there is a more relaxed flow to the music. The musical flow is something you do not realise you are missing until feeding more watts to the speakers.

I strongly suspect you can get a better stereo amp for the money compared to monoblocs secondary to the doubling of chassis costs. We had some idiosyncratic positioning issues that meant we utilised two SA 102 instead of the SA250 from the Plinius range. Also one day, one day an active crossover may make an appearance.

Kevin
 

MarkNewbie

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aliveatfive said:
I'd bet any amount of money you couldn't tell a mono bloc from a stereo amp if you were blindfolded.
I laughed when I read that. Not because I dissagree with the statement at all. It was because I was sure that it would start one of those "Does blind testing really work?" debates. I really figured with the diversity of opinion that I see on here (which I think is a great thing), the debate would be well underway by now. Oops! Maybe I just started it? :eek:
 

aliveatfive

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MarkNewbie said:
I laughed when I read that. Not because I dissagree with the statement at all. It was because I was sure that it would start one of those "Does blind testing really work?" debates. I really figured with the diversity of opinion that I see on here (which I think is a great thing), the debate would be well underway by now. Oops! Maybe I just started it? :eek:
Mark -

FYI, I don't think I agree with the concept of double-blind testing in principle. However, it seems to me that with so many stereo amps designed as dual mono units, at this point it is moot to make monoblocs a single criterion for owning one in one's system. To quote Roberto: 'Trust your ears." A marketing ploy does not guarantee good listening.
 
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roberto

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aliveatfive said:
I'd bet any amount of money you couldn't tell a mono bloc from a stereo amp if you were blindfolded.
Hola Greg...I'm going to be an intruder here...and this is my honest opinion only, just my position and not want to argue...but did you know that our immediate short term memory only last 15 seconds? Hard trained brains could do close to 30 sec.? Our short term memory is so short the we get mislead very easy. In the long term memory is where we can find out the difference of any component of the system. You have to be used at the previous sound in many little details on the music, and better, the size and air bewteen the musical instruments..let's say that you need a week to get used to that particular sound, then make the change for the component that you want to test. Here, you will listen and truly understand the differences...this is what works for me... This is something that varies a lot with different amplifiers, with the same brand and models, even monoblocks. In the short term, it is a very difficult task, unless the difference is so big. You can "feel" more that tiny little tricks there...and choose the one that you like most. When you listen to any system, you get used to a certain resonance(s) that the other component don't show or will do them different...we truly can say what you did like it or what did not. You can tell the difference between tube amps with their sweet sound or a good super precise sound from SS. The taste is different...and when you make the comparations one on one, you only find very tiny differences. This is the reason why you stated that, but you do know which things are more clear now for you in you own system than before and also if you are in the right track for your new component, and you have not made any changes...right? Long term memory is where I work...and it is very hard task to do what you are proposing, but not impossible. Very trained ears could to it, but only them. Happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 
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kwr

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MarkNewbie said:
I laughed when I read that. Not because I dissagree with the statement at all. It was because I was sure that it would start one of those "Does blind testing really work?" debates. I really figured with the diversity of opinion that I see on here (which I think is a great thing), the debate would be well underway by now. Oops! Maybe I just started it? :eek:
Couldn't agree more. I have been watching this useless debate for years now.

My take on it. Subjectivists are wrong to dismiss blind testing as a potential method for assesment. Many of the objectivists demonstrate that they have no idea how to perform a basic biological study with enough power to demonstrate that there is no difference (the null hypothesis).

One of the forums I post on has a rigourosly moderated no DBT rule with a specific section for any DBT debate. Works well.

I'm with Roberto I suspect. It takes considerable periods of time to get the pros and cons of new components in a system. We have found just listening with a new component in the system with familiar music without swopping things in and out to be the best.

My post above regarding stereo vs monobloc is only posted on a 'this is what I heard this afternoon basis '. Familiar music, equipment and room. Still doesn't prove a thing. :D

Kevin
 
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