View Full Version : The Grungy Amplifier Thread

Ian Mackenzie
06-14-2004, 09:33 AM
There are no rules on this thread, in other words the more ignorant you are the more fun we will have.

But to qualify you must seriously trash an amp you have heard ...they are after all the devil of any great JBL Speaker.


John Nebel
06-14-2004, 09:44 AM
One can safely trash their own amp?

A long while back when Signetics first announced power MOSFETs, I begged a few of them and breadboarded a mono amp. I was showing it to a friend and it went into thermal run-away and a puff of smoke. Sad mess.

My friend thought I did that just to scare her!


06-14-2004, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by Ian Mackenzie
There are no rules on this thread, in other words the more ignorant you are the more fun we will have.That's crap! I should have been the first to post since I thought I was the most ignorant but John beat me to it. :hmm:

G.T. let me know a few months ago that he thought my Citation 22 amps were total grunge... let's see if there is a sudden dump of Citation 22's on ebay.

06-14-2004, 10:51 AM
let's see if there is a sudden dump of Citation 22's on ebay

Giskard, you're beginning to fade......

Worst amp? It has to be the Phase Linear 400 or the BGW 250, not the "B" version.

Mr. Widget
06-14-2004, 11:04 AM
A few years back I bought a Phase Linear 400 on eBay. (Always loved the look of them and thought I'd give one a whirl.) It lasted a few weeks. I couldn't sell it fast enough!


Ian Mackenzie
06-14-2004, 03:43 PM
My most recent worst experience was the Marantz 140 power amp, its was a total woos.

The mids and highs were fluffy and so was the bass, it was totally unusable as a bass amp and became unstable when pushed.

I found the Phase Linear 400 better as a mid hi amp in bi amp mode, otherwise it was greasy.

The absolute worse experience however was at dealer about 25 years ago when they demonstrated a 4315 & a 4341 using a Luxman power amps.

Playing Power of Soul the amp was like a wet blanket and completely clipped without any warning and poled the woofer. The noise was so loud the store manager came in, he was pale faced.

They then took me to another room where they played the 4341 with a bigger Luxman. It sounded strained, dried out and was the dirtiest dark sound I ever heard.


06-14-2004, 04:37 PM
I agree on the Phase Linear 400. The way people have raved about it I always assumed I'd run across a bad example. I went to guy's house to hear it demo'ed. I tried not to let him see how much I wanted to get out of there.

I'm so tolerant of mid-fi (now I can hear a chorus of "You can say that again") that I've listened to a lot of equipment at low volume that I absolutely have to get away from when it's turned up. Unfortunately a lot of it has been in friends's homes. But generally speaking the worst has been the small Dynaco solid state.


Ian Mackenzie
06-14-2004, 05:46 PM
In that situation I usually head for the kitchen, pantry whatever and chat up his wifey.....well I'm inclined to do that anyway...


06-14-2004, 06:01 PM
Yeah, and that's where to cold beer is, anyway.

By the way: Does anyone remember what movie it was that Judge Reinhold played a stereo salesman? Was that The Big Fix?


06-14-2004, 06:12 PM
Wait. Maybe it was Ruthless People. Was it Ruthless People?

06-14-2004, 06:17 PM
It was Ruthless People. The web site below has the dialogue from the relevant scene.


06-16-2004, 07:59 AM
this one beats em all! yes it says hitachi right there on the side. i say no more!

06-16-2004, 08:20 AM
iīve been using that for my computer. thats about all it can handle.

06-17-2004, 01:15 AM
G'Day All,
I must add another stake to the Phase Linear 400 heart. Poor thermal stability leading to DC problems and very noisy.

I have tried 3 of them and they are all ... well (as Neil Young would say) I found them all... P.O.C.s

Regards Scott

06-17-2004, 10:18 PM
Worst amps of all time?

Southwest Technical Products (SWTP) Tiger... Self-Destructo! I've never seen one of these that actually MANAGED to WORK! Hell, they'd blow up in the cardboard box, before you even hooked up the AC cord to an outlet, it seemed like!! Instability champion of the world!

I also have to join the pile-on about the Phase Linear 400. Unstable is EXACTLY the word. The "Great Speaker Eater"... guaranteed to go DC and take out at least one pair of woofers during its life. And it really DOESN'T sound that good, even when working... not nearly enough power supply, for its purported 200w/ch output. Easily strained, IMHO...

Oh yeah, can't forget the Dynaco Stereo 80 and Stereo 120. Transistor amps, before transistors were cool. And for good reason, they weren't cool yet... these amps tried to push the semiconductor technology of the day WAY too hard, and tried all sorts of tricks to try and make it work. Maybe a noble effort, but IMHO, a pretty abject failure in the long-term view. Thank God that Jim Bongiorno came on board, to help 'em sort out things before they built the Dynaco '400 and '410!! At least, those things would work MOST of the time!!

I guess the moral of the story here is: Doesn't matter HOW GOOD the amp is, if it DOESN'T WORK...


06-18-2004, 10:59 AM
I nominate any of the fine brands of Japanese gear that cheaped out in the 80's and went with IC amps. Some of the crappiest stuff I've never heard was that early 80's garbage by Sansui and Pioneer (to name two)....


07-20-2004, 08:28 AM
if ya like boomy bass stained mid:s an harsh highs (before you even turn up the volume!) you just gotta get this! itīs a state of the (korean) art InterM REF-2300....

on their website they call this a "studio grade reference amplifier" well shure! some very smart person once said "everything is relative"

Well! i sold the damn thing for 230 bucks! and it wont be missed!
i have a feeling it will show for sale soon... again...