Stereo vs Monoblock

willygreat48 -- Fri, 01/23/2009 - 22:20

 I would like to know the diference between Stereo Amplifiers and Monoblocks amplifiers.  If I have 2 stereo amplifiers and I set it up one for the right speaker and the other for the left speakers, does that make them monoblocks?
 
Thank you very much.

willygreat48 -- Fri, 01/23/2009 - 22:22

I just want to know the diference between stereo and monobloks amplifiers. 

WRoca 

tomsmith -- Fri, 01/23/2009 - 23:49

Stereo is two channel, monoblock is one. 

Hard work never killed anyone, but why take a chance?

Mike_Dee -- Wed, 10/12/2011 - 12:48

Mono blocks typically only have one set of outputs to drive a single speaker, whereas, a stereo amplifier has two sets of outputs to drive two speakers.

Cemil Gandur -- Sat, 01/24/2009 - 11:01

You can convert some stereo amps into monoblocks by bridging them. That would give you double the power per channel.
Using one channel of a stereo amp per speaker (without bridging) would result in no sonic benefit.
You can use two stereo amp to bi-amp your speakers. There are various bi-amping scenarios. IMO the best scenario would involve driving the speakers actively, which, unless your speakers have an external or removable crossover, would involve a certain amount of speaker surgery and would certainly void your warranty - not recommended!
 

Elliot Goldman -- Sat, 01/24/2009 - 16:01

Stereo amplifers are two channels in one amplifier chasis
Monoblocks are a mono or single channel amplifier in one chasis.
Generally speaking if we talk about the same things comparing apples to apples the mono blocks will sound better for a variety of reasons depending upon the company.
they usually cost more since you at least are paying for two chasis and to of everything :)

johndsmistress (not verified) -- Sat, 05/30/2009 - 13:03

 Try Outlaw Audio 2200 monoblocks. Internet only, these amps put out 200w@8ohms, 300w@4ohms. G-A/B circuitry (little info on the net) that sounds nothing like D or H amps. Benchmark Dac1Pre, $100 interconnects, $400 speaker cables and Magnepan 1.6's, these amps are amazingly close to my Bryston 4B-ST. They also do great with my Energy RC-70's and top line Jamo's. Short, cool and stackable they work. Why I don't know. Trusted 2 different dealers, got shafted twice. I've done better freelance; Outlaw is one of the better finds.

bobdacop -- Sun, 02/08/2009 - 22:56

IMHO, Monoblocks give you greater dynamic range, eliminate cross talk between channels for greater channel separation.  Monoblocks don't rob each other of power during intense musical passages like some stereo power amps, especailly in the low frequency range.  If your stereo amp has a dual mono configuration, with separate power supplies, this issue may not be a problem.
I'm a firm believer in monoblocks with short speaker connects and balanced cable runs.
I hope this helps.

Robert Harley -- Sun, 02/08/2009 - 23:12

I also endorse monoblocks, for the same reasons cited by bobdacop.

Anatoli Teterin (not verified) -- Tue, 09/15/2009 - 22:19

 Hi robert.I was fallowing You advise to get ML 326s and 432,but I'm not happy with sound.If You have any inf. about ML 532 ,let me know.And the other question is,can ML 326s preamp. match Burmester 911?

Jonathan Valin -- Sun, 02/08/2009 - 23:45

I've heard many great stereo amps--such as the Marantz 8B, the Audio Research D75,  D76a, D40, D150, and D79B, the Phase Linear 400, the Audio Note Ongaku and Neiro, the Pass Labs X350.5,the original GamuT D200, the Soulution 710, the BAlabo BP-1, etc.--and many great monoblock amps. Though I generally prefer monoblocks I wouldn't rule out stereo or integrated amps simply because monoblocks generally (but not invariably)  have superior channel separation, better power supplies, and higher power output. A lot depends on the application, which is to say the sensitivity and impedance and current-hungriness of the loudspeaker you use. And of course a lot depends on the size of your bank account, the amount of room space you can devote to amplification (and the quality of the current available to power your amps), and above all else your taste in sound. Frankly, I don't think anyone would kick himself for buying a Soulution 710 stereo amp.

Anatoli Teterin (not verified) -- Tue, 09/15/2009 - 22:09

 Hi Jonathan.Before to buy my Puccini,I was listening cd pl. with U-clock and did not hear any different.Maybe I did'nt hear long inough?PLus,I was waiting promissing inf. from The Absolute sound,but I did'nt get .

hikejohn -- Mon, 02/09/2009 - 23:01

 While there certainly are excellent stereo amps IMHO...as bobdacop and Robert Harley note...monoblocks...and I strong agree with short speaker cables next to amp/speaker....though at times I think of MIT (having used them in a prior Spectral System (by the way my DMC-30...vintage 2001 had a remote..similar to current model) network cables....but their min length I believe is about 8'....I suspect that even Soulution will at some point bring out mono blocks...most top companies/top designers eventually do....monoblocks are the ideal way to go

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 00:23

<< I suspect that even Soulution will at some point bring out mono blocks>>
 
Soulution already has! I have a pair of its 700 monoblocks upstairs right now. I haven't listened to them yet in my home (I'm waiting for the Magico M5s to arrive), but I'm quite sure they're going to be sensational based on what I heard at CES and previous experience with the company's 710 stereo amp. However, the Soulution 700 monoblocks cost $110,000 a pair, weigh about 250 pounds apiece, and are physically huge. The Soulution 710 stereo amp costs $40,000, weighs about 175 pounds, and (though scarcely demure) isn't nearly as big as a single 700. Those are significant differences in cost and weight and size. Plus the 710 ain't chopped liver when it comes to sonics; in fact, it is the best solid-state amp I've yet heard (although I suspect the 700 will eclipse it, as well it should for almost three times the money, three times the weight, and better than twice the size). 
 
I'm not arguing against monoblocks, BTW, which I typically use as references. I am arguing that there are great stereo (and integrated) amps on the market that can be competitive with monoblocks--in select instances, fully competitive. And that, if circumstances and finances don't permit purchasing monoblocks, you don't have to have them to get excellent amplification.

hikejohn -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 08:04

  The Solution monoblocks should be excellent...pardon my ignorance about them since they don't appear on the importer's web site (Axxiss).  It is nice of you to comment on such a limited item.  Is there perhaps a dealer in the US who might have a pair to listen to....?

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 13:43

The Soulution line is new to the U.S. market, but I believe Sound by Singer is already a dealer. To get a complete up-to-date  list of U.S. Soulution dealers, call or e-mail Axiss Audio.

hikejohn -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 17:48

 I checked their site and they do list dealers for their product lines....just referred to fact that the monoblock you referenced as going to try/review isn't listed on the importers web site....so perhaps they won't import until/unless they get rave review from TAS....which, given the economy, might make excellent business sense....after all let us not forget that this is a business....

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 19:40

I'd bet that the absence of the Soulution 700 from the Axiss Web site isn't a deliberate omission, since I got the 700s from Axiss and they were shown prominently and very successfully at CES 2009. I think the product is so new that Art just hasn't had the chance to update his site yet.

hikejohn -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 21:48

My concern...thought...is the boundry between an objective reviewer....and someone who  "jumps" on board...prior to importer listing an item...and the reviewer being out in front...pushing something....why not wait until the company is in the US...shows support for unit and gets compared against all comers...rather than pushing an unknown....when even the importer doesn't recognize the unit....just observing here....

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 23:33

You guys amuse me. I've been listening to the Soulution gear for almost five months now, so it is scarcely an "unknown"; the amp and preamp and CD player have been reviewed repeatedly in European and Asian audio magazines over the last three years with highest marks. After careful listening, I have said that I think Soulution electronics are marvelous--the best solid-state I've heard and genuine breakthroughs in transparency and neutrality. It buys me absolutely nothing to share my enthusiasm for this stuff with you guys (save for the sheer hobbyist pleasure of turning other people on to really great gear). If you'd rather I didn't do this, then don't, for chrissake, read my threads. But please don't tell me (or imply to others) that because the 700 is not at the moment listed on Art Manzano's Web site it  isn't being imported or is awaiting a review before being imported. The Soulution 720 preamp and 740 CD player also weren't listed on Art's Web site when I received them for review several months ago. They are now--and I haven't reviewed either one, yet. The Air Tight PC-1 Supreme wasn't listed either for several months after it became available, and yet it was widely distributed, purchased, and reviewed in spite of not being "advertised" on the Axiss Web site. You're turning sluggishness into some sort of conspiracy.
 
 

gadio -- Thu, 09/10/2009 - 22:07

Jon, keep up the good work, not everybody is as anal as some of these posts suggest. ...
 
I would love to discuss a maggie (I am a great fan who has discovered  upgrades)  issue with you at some point!

Cemil Gandur -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 04:27

I've got an SME V-12 arm being delivered in a couple of weeks, and the thing is not up on SME's own web site! Neither is the new 30/12 turntable which, unfortunately, is not being delivered to me, but is readily purchase-able. Having something listed on a web site does not mean it exists, or vice-versa.
 The Soulution gear has been around for a while, at least in some parts of the world.
 

hikejohn -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 21:47

 You miss the point...there are lots of new things brought out...but here you are flogging it/touting it...prior to US distribution...like the option that I considered with Gryphon...which Rockport likes...but for which there is no company support...I know that Solution has been a darling of overseas press...I know they have been in business...as their web site notes...motor systems...(mmm, reminds me of Halcro)...made for lots of buzz...why not wait a bit until there is real distribution/support and service for a product....unless Singer (an excellent retailer) plans to handle sales...more importantly service throughout the US.....guess I am burned out a little on all this Emperor's new clothes style or reviews/product promotion...

Jonathan Valin -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 22:34

<< You miss the point...there are lots of new things brought out...but here you are flogging it/touting it...prior to US distribution>>
 
Hikejohn,
 
You seem like a nice guy, but honestly you're the one who is missing the point:: Soulution IS distributed in the U.S. (by Axiss Audio). That is an incontrovertible fact. Moreover, it's not just distributed in the U.S. (else we could not review it); it is being SOLD in the U.S,. by various high-profile dealers and was widely demo'd at CES 2009. I don't know about Gryphon distribution, and Halcro has never been a personal favorite of mine. In fact, I'm not a solid-state maven in general; I'm primarily a tube guy. So when I get enthused about something like the Soulution gear, it is because even a hard-sell like me is convinced it's extraordinary.
 
JV

Halcro -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 01:04

hikejohn,
I guess you think that TAS is sold only in your beloved US of A and that we 'pissants' in the rest of the world don't/can't read and are probably undeserving of any involvement in this and other Forums like Audio Asylum and Audiogon?
This myopic and insular viewpoint which used to characterize many Americans, I thought had gradually dissipated?
What Gryphon has to do with the price of fish I don't know??....except that they did have distribution in the USA 15 years ago and failed to sell!
As Jon says, if you don't like posts about the cutting edge of Audio High End, then please disappear from this Forum and leave us who do, to lap it up.
 

brian -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 12:54

Jonathan has a very good point about distribution. As a Shelter dealer, I can say the people at Axiss are very professional and a pleasure to work with. As for Soulution, the only place I've heard the gear is at CES. Only with a personal audition can one properly assess the products' strengths and weaknesses, especially in their price range. A positive review of a product may pique your interest, but purchases should be made based on personal listening to the products.
 
Gryphon probably was mentioned because their products are aimed at consumers of the upper tier of high end solid state components. I don't know the company but know Flemming Rasmussen to be a gifted designer and a gentleman. Andy Payor of Rockport Technologies has long been a fan of Gryphon amplifiers and voices his loudspeakers around them. There are no Gryphon dealers in the US, but precisely what that means I can't say. Without distribution it's an uphill battle.

Brian Walsh
Essential Audio  ~  Chicago area ~ 773-809-HIFI (4434)

Halcro -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 22:13

I really don't understand why, in this day and age, having a local distributor is seen to be critical?
The USA has 300 million population. can you imagine countries with 5, 10, 15 or even 50 million people being able to support distribution of ALL the exotic high-end audio equipment?
I live in Australia with 20 million other people. I wanted a TW Acustic Raven turntable 2 years ago. There was no distributor (there subsequently is now) so I Emailed Thomas Woschnick directly, negotiated a nice discount, received a 5 year warranty and eventually 2 wooden crates arrived at my front door.
I wanted a DaVinci 12" Ref Grandezza tonearm but there was no distributor so I dealt directly with Yolanda and Peter Brem in Switzerland, negotiated a nice discount and warranty and a few weeks later the huge wooden case containing my arm (the first in Australia) arrived at my door.
The same happened with my ZYX Universe cartridge which I bought from Sora Sound in the US, also with my Duelund Speaker Capacitors where I dealt directly with Frederik in Denmark.
I have also negotiated directly with ASR Emitter, Coincident Technologies (Israel Blume), Dartzeel and Audion.
Every single manufacturer was delighted and enthusiastic to be dealing directly with me (as long as there was no local distribution), and regularly offerred me up to 20% discount on retail pricing as well as full warranties.
If anyone of you wants a Gryphon product, contact Flemming directly in Denmark and you will have a fully compliant 120V amplifier at your doorstep within weeks.
i'm sure that I could have the Soulution Monoblocks in place of my Halcros if i had the inclination and the money.
Get with the program you guys and wake up and smell the roses. The world has changed and as much as Dealers and Distributors may feel threatened and not like it?.........it ain't going back to the 'good ole days'!

true-blue -- Fri, 05/29/2009 - 06:12

Dear Halcro,
You obvoiously have a problem with both Gryphons products and the company. 
You are naturally entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts,.
You clam that Gryphon has been selling relabeled NBS cables,.. FACT : We have never had any contact to this company about anything. We challenge you to prove otherwise.
You claim that anyone can call Gryphon and buy a product direct... FACT : Gryphon NEVER  is, and NEVER has, been selling direct to any consumer anywhere regardless of a Gryphon distribution is there or not.  We challenge you to find a single example of this happening.
We do not wish Gryphon owners to be without local demonstration, in home demonstration, set-up, financing, trade-in program, support, upgrades, information  and much more.
We do not accept any discount to replace that.
That may be a concept that is hard for you to comprehend.
So, get your fact right and stay away from speculations and unsupported smearing claims, or hit the mute button, mate

true- blue (not verified) -- Mon, 06/22/2009 - 07:33

 
Dear Halcro,
You obvoiously have a problem with both Gryphons products and the company. 
You are naturally entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts,.
You claim that Gryphon has been selling relabeled NBS cables,.. FACT : We have never had any contact to this company about anything. We challenge you to prove otherwise.
You claim that anyone can call Gryphon and buy a product direct... FACT : Gryphon NEVER  is, and NEVER has, been selling direct to any consumer anywhere regardless of a Gryphon distribution is there or not.  We challenge you to find a single example of this happening.
We do not wish Gryphon owners to be without local demonstration, in home demonstration, set-up, financing, trade-in program, support, upgrades, information  and much more.
We do not accept any discount to replace that.
That may be a concept that is hard for you to comprehend.
So, get your fact right and stay away from speculations and unsupported smearing claims, or hit the mute button, mate

true-blue -- Thu, 06/25/2009 - 02:57

Gryphon do not sell direct, this policy also applies to countries where no Gryphon distribution is available.
Your assumption is pure speculation.

Cemil Gandur -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 05:01

I don't know how many people would do that. I would personally not consider buying an expensive piece of gear without auditionning it at home, in my own system. I think many would be in the same case. Chances of getting disappointed are quite high otherwise. 
Granted, that might be difficult in the case of cartridges or even turntables, but not for others. I've had well rated speakers perform very poorly in my room, well rated electronics not being well matched to the rest, well rated cables and interconnects with the same problem. I do not have the budget to buy , then figure it out on trial and error basis.

Halcro -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 07:21

I agree with you Zeb and never bought amplifiers without auditioning with my speakers at home. I also auditioned turntables (Linn, Sota, Rega) in situ.
That was the past.
The reality now is that you won't find dealers with Caliburns, Clearaudio Statements or Walker Prosceniums even in their showrooms let alone available for loan? And that's even in the States......figure it out for smaller countries? I couldn't even find a VPI TNT HRX on the dealer's floor let alone available for loan? And that's in Sydney, a city of 4 million!
Talk about speakers?........There's no MBL 101s on the dealer's floor let alone the X-tremes! And Magico?......well for some reason Alon Wolf seems to think the island of New Zealand (2000 miles across the Pacific from Sydney), is part of Australia as that is where the Distributor and Dealer is?
Amplifiers?........you simply can't find any of the great names lying around on dealers floors! It is pure economics.
So if we now can't audition gear even in a dealer's showroom let alone our own homes, how are we to make buying decisions?
That is why there is a quantum shift i believe, in the way serious audiophiles are forced to buy equipment:-

  • Reviews are more important than ever and the Audio Forums with multiple sources of feedback are becoming as relevant as reviews.
  • More and more are buying used on Audiogon and if not happy with the purchase, simply re-sell for no great loss (see cartridges and cables for proof of this).
  • Those who can afford it, buy new (either from the Dealers or Manufacturers directly-don't forget, you don't pay 'list' from the Manufacturer), and if not happy, sell it on Audiogon.
  • The ability of anyone not living in the States, to get the gear that Jon Valin is able to listen to in his own home, is almost negligible.

hikejohn -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 21:53

 I am not tied to one piece of geography
I care about the likelihood of a consumer getting reasonable service
Most users/buyers can't get the same help as magazine writers
This is not to say that some buyers are willing to take rish of support and service....but just that its a lot more diffciult
But many mag writers don't point out the realities of being a first mover buyer....and also the merits of the performance versus their ego in writing and advocating something new.....
 
John

Jonathan Valin -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 22:20

 Hikejohn,
 
I must've gored your ox because there really isn't any other explanation for this nasty carping. Axiss Audio is one of the premier distributors in high-end audio and has been in business for two decades or more. Why you would assume the unlikelihood of a consumer getting reasonable service from the same outfit that distributes Accuphase and Air Tight (among many others) is beyond me. And if you think I'm recommending Soulution because it is new and I'm on an ego trip, you're wrong.
 
JV

bh (not verified) -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 17:12

Hikejohn,
i bought the Soulution 700 from Sound by Signer (i think i am the first). so it is being sold in the US.  Regarding TAS flouging Soulution, i must admit that I too was skeptical on why TAS was making such a big push at first too.  But after some serious listening sessions of the Soulution, i must admit that i was blown away.  in fact, i switched from what was an inevitable tube purchase to the solid state soulution.  nothing against Tube, that is what i wanted, but the neutral sound of the soulution pushed me in that direction.  just has an absolute amazing way of presenting the entire music picture as it was recorded (i.e. each instrument in the right spot).  The tubes i was looking at were beautiful (aesthetically a lot nicer than the Soulutions - which is a big deal as my living room is my listening room) but the mid-range on the tubes, as beautifiul as it was, was overpowering the rest of the music story (and these were great tubes i was looking at - Zanden and Kondo (i really wanted to the Zanden to match my phono but alas i switched my mind)).
Anyway, my point is that I thought TAS was really selling the Soulutions and the Magico, therefore, i went out and made the decision for myself on the Soulutions, in the end I fully agree with what JV and RH were reporting that they heard.  Now, i need to make the same judgement call on the M5 when i can find a place to listen to them (hopefully Sound by Singer will have it in place by May).  
BH

Mitchell Erblich (not verified) -- Fri, 03/20/2009 - 05:33

 Group,
To include mundane reasons for monos, a few are that size, weight, heat tend to be less when you run a mono. My monos are older  Krell FPBs that allow the weight to be at a moveable 100 lbs. When I wanted to get a checkup on one of 3, the center mono was used and only one audio channel was down until the other mono returned. Supposively  a dedicated power supply allows the monos to run into a lower impediance in addition pushing more watts into a specific ohm value. Lastly, locations close to the speaker prevents localized room heating, yes these things are Class A.

Atul Kanagat -- Fri, 03/20/2009 - 09:07

Great discussion (if you ignore unnecessary testy comments). Here are my 5 cents worth. I was a tube guy for a really long time but switched from 800wpc tube monoblocks that I loved  to the ASR Emitter 2's. I use a pair of these stereo, solid state, integrated amps to drive my loudspeaker system since it needs four channels. While the ASRs are not mono blocks, each stereo amp has three (count em) power supplies of significant heft and current capacity. In my system, they sound better than any mono blocks (tube or ss) that I have experienced.
As in all things audio, generalizations like tubes are better than solid state, monoblocks are better than stereo and separates are better than integrated amps are almost always wrong. So much depends on the listener and the system, that there is room for excellence via multiple approaches. I for one think that minimizing the number of elctric connections in the audio chain is a critical factor; every time you add a component or connection, you can only degrade the signal. An integrated amp is better on this particular dimension than separates because you have one less interconnect and two fewer connections.

prepress -- Thu, 04/23/2009 - 15:12

While I don't have expensive amps (2 pair of older B&K monos), I have noted that with two pairs of monos there is a subtle difference in sound versus one pair. It is most notable in my system on recordings with light bass; the bass is a bit lighter with just one pair in the chain. This is less obvious with more robust material. If the time came for new amplification, I'd look for monoblocks over stereo.

prepress -- Tue, 06/30/2009 - 05:28

 I have a question.I mentioned having 2 pair of monos driving my speakers in a bi-amp configuration. The amps are 200wpc. If I have a single pair of monos at 250wpc, would I experience a sonic benefit, at least in theory?
 
As for the Outlaws mentioned earlier, I noted in their product literature that they consume 600 watts (presumably at peak output). Since I don't have a dedicated line, I'm concerned about their power consumption. My current setup pulls 4.5 to 5 amps at typical listening levels.

john t (not verified) -- Wed, 02/24/2010 - 22:26

would 2 sony ta-n55es bridged be a good way to go get more power of coarse along with better sound quality?

piper_sch40@yah... -- Sun, 03/27/2011 - 04:16

Hi all,
I've seen some audio reviewer changing from seperates to intergrated.
My questions:
1) Why some intergrated amp (example, KR Audio) cost more than seperates or even monoblocks?
2) Is the signal coming out from the monoblocks to the speakers the same?
 
Thanks
 

Steven Stone -- Sun, 03/27/2011 - 12:27

 1) Why some cars with only 2 seats cost more than ones with 4?
Faster car, better car. Now transpose to audio.
 
2) No. Yes, only through dixie cup and string.
 
 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

mdunjic -- Thu, 07/07/2011 - 09:18

 You can also use 2 separate stereo amplifiers and 'horizontally' bi-amplify your speakers (if they provide bi-wiring posts)
Left channel from your pre-amp goes to both RCA inputs of stereo amp responsible to drive left speaker - for this you need RCA splitter which is cheap to buy and 2 RCA cables. speaker outputs from this amp each go to the its own binding post on the bi-wire-able speaker 
Right channel from your pre-amp goes to both RCA inputs of stereo amp responsible to drive right speaker. speaker outputs from this amp each go to the its own binding post on the bi-wire-able speaker 
This way you can achieve similar benefits as with mono-blocks. I use this with 2 Quad 909s driving Neat Motive 1 speakers and results are simply amazing. 

Zach -- Fri, 11/04/2011 - 20:15

 I endorse monoblocks, but only above a certain budget level. 

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