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Why does my 1977 2103 sound much better than my friend's 2203x?

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  • #16
    The difference is definitely not in my imagination. It's quite pronounced. Although the amps are in the same sonic ballpark, the 1977 amp sounds noticeably more 'alive' and 3 dimensional. I will have to pull the chassis of both amps and go through them component by component, but I'm pretty certain that the amp is original and unmodified. The only disturbed solder joints are the ones I did when replacing the bias supply filter caps and the main filter caps. One thing I did notice - and I've started a thread about it - is that the presence control does nothing that I can hear, whereas it definitely does on both my 88 2204 and my friend's 2203x.

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    • #17
      So, you've identified a potential problem with the amp in the presence circuit. I wouldn't expect a non-working amp to sound like a fully working amp. You may have answered your own question.
      "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

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      • #18
        In my book, comparing two amps’ characters always begins with bench testing at several frequencies into identical dummy loads with scope connected, and saving the waveforms for visual comparison. Also pink noise testing.

        The scope test is usually revealing. “Okay... Unit 1 at this power level is beginning to round off this 100 Hz waveform, but only at the bottom. Unit 2 isn't. And Unit 2 is showing a very high frequency ripple at 5 watts and above, starting at 1.5 KHz. Unit 1 isn't.” At least now you’ve got footprints in the dirt you can follow. Then you start probing each amp, working from downstream toward upstream, taking notes along the way. You’ll be shocked at what you find. In my opinion, using any other means to track down the real causes of why two amps sound different is nothing more than chasing after wind.

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        • #19
          Yes I agree. I don't have a scope though. The issue was touched on again in the presence control thread. Some tweaks made my old amp sound much more like the reissue.

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