Damping factor - maybe or maybe not
Well, the working assumption in your opening remark is that there is, truly, repeatedly, universally, unequivocally, a significant audible (rather than emotional-subjective) difference between amplifiers. To even begin to decide if that is true or not, they would have to be compared under controlled conditions. As we've seen recently, not one single commentator stepped forward to take up the challenge and put that important belief to the test. So can we agree that, at this time, these claimed night-and-day 'sonic differences' are completely unproven and the validation of this claim remains a work in progress?
Originally Posted by DSRANCE
Second: as I recall, this damping factor issue has been thoroughly explored. I suspect that most/all/any solid state amp made in the last 30 years or so should have a very low output impedance and should, I'd strongly suspect, meet your target for adequacy of damping factor. Indeed, don't forget that there is (typically) an ohm or so of DC resistance between the amp's output terminals and the woofer/tweeter (in the crossover) so even if the amp has an output resistance of (typically) 0.1R, what the woofer 'sees' is about 1R, including the crossover and cable wiring resistance. As for tube amps which are critically dependent on their huge audio output transformer with miles of wire inside (all of which has a resistance) the output resistance is much higher and hence the damping factor inevitably lower.
Here in Windermere I don't have my full archive, but I'd be very surprised if your entirely reasonable focus on damping factor will yield the answer. What's next on your radar I wonder? We need to know!
P.S. If you think about it, it really doesn't matter to us ordinary music lovers what the technical reason for amp A sounding better than amp B is (if that is indeed provable). Surely all any of us want to do is get straight to that amplifier nirvana, get out the credit card and buy it pronto. The only way to reliably identify that golden amplifier I have exhaustively proposed, with nil take-up. So as this thread suggested at the outset, we are all still stumbling around in the dark in the same time frame that man has been to the moon and back. What engineering issues are holding us back from once and for all, nailing the amplifier argument? Can you think of any? If the instantaneous A/B test can identify one superior amplifier count me in as the first to buy it, cost irrelevant.
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK