Can anyone offer advice as to the difference/impact of choosing between a grunty 2 channel amplifier and two monoblocks?? assuming that both are of high quality.
There are no performance advantages to separating channels and/or components, given that you're happy with the performance and don't expect to make changes. I prefer a integrated (using the 1000W into 4Ohm Rowland Continuum 600) to separates. Well designed integrateds avoid potential degradation due to interconnects and avoid the high additional cost associated with top quality ICs.
In my view, the only reason to buy separates is because you're uncertain about what you want or need for your system and might change elements in the future.
Hey sutpau, welcome to the forum.
The biggest difference is the number of chassis!
And I'm not being as facetious as it may seem. The real answer depends on how the circuit of the stereo amp is implemented. Some stereo amps have a 'dual mono' construction, meaning that the circuits for L and R channels are kept electrically separate all the way back to the power supply, sometimes even deploying two power transformers with separate cores.
'True' dual-mono amps have two AC cords to avoid any risk of any cross-channel intermodulation via the power rail, although of course to the extent that these are plugged into the same circuit they are still sharing power at some level. Nevertheless, a stereo amp so implemented can rightly claim to be equivalent to a pair of mono amps as near as the number of chassis.
There is a fair bit of religion here and as you can probably tell I'm a skeptic. As usual, the best advice is to let your ears decide.
Thanks for two helpful replies! I maybe should explain a bit more. I was watching some videos about Wilosn speakers and it showed how some other high end manufacturers were opting to use Wilson speakers to dispaly thier own hi-end components. I noted that a few chose a single amp whilst others preferred the two mon route. It got me thinking. From a price/quality perspective I wondered if spening twice as much on asingle 2 channel would be preferential to spening half as much each on 2 monos - and of course, whether there is any listening advantage or disadvantges. You both helped with a bit of the puzzle. As a Plinius user I am sad to say that they use mainly monos at the top end so in setting up a new outfit I will have to go mono or look for a different brand??
Neatly sidestepping the issue of the degree to which other vendors choose to use Wilson speakers I would only comment that in most product ranges I have seen each mono amp costs as much as the corresponding stereo amp, in other words a pair of monos is twice as much, making 'pair-of-monos' an expensive religion. If you are comparing a pair of mono amps with a stereo amp the same price as the pair then the number of chassis is just one of a looong list of differences and IMHO pales into insignificance.
Plinius make great amps, but there are plenty of alternatives too. My advice, assuming you have the rack space, would be to ignore the number of chassis and simply judge based on sound quality, good old 'bang-for-the-buck'. And if anyone tells you that a pair of monos offer much better stereo separation or lower crosstalk just give them a long hard stare .
It depends on how much high quality power that you want and need. I make both types. Both are recommended by serious audiophile magazines. It is like if you want a 2 seat or a 4 seat vehicle. Monoblocks allow for more heatsink for each channel, as well as a bigger power supply.
Quote:Monoblocks allow for more heatsink for each channel, as well as a bigger power supply.
Fair points John, but of course these are theoretical benefits that may or may not be realized in a given product. You've no doubt been around the forums long enough to have seen how quickly simple statements like these can be turned into dogma by folks who don't really know what they're talking about.
I think your 2-seater/4-seater analogy is excellent. If the priority is absolute performance you might go for a 2-seater, if the priority is value or space you might go 4-seater. Both are valid architectures and it would not be true to say that one is always better than the other.
Each mono amp can be positioned close to the speaker it powers. Some say longer XLR cables and shorter speaker cables make a positive improvement.