LFD AUDIO: Q&A … damping factor

Howard writes ...

A question of mine, to address my inquisitive nature. 

My preference, for most types of music and most speakers is a high damping factor. I value speed, agility and articulation over heft, weight and so on. 

To date, the PA2M(SE) is the most satisfying I have heard.

Hypothetically, is it technically possible to build a power amp and/or integrated with a control to vary damping factor or … an intervention control box to operate between the amp's speaker outlets and the speakers’ inputs?

Finally, I believe (and have done for years) that a higher damping factor than the norm provides superior bass characteristics at low to very low volume settings. Am I misleading myself?


Dear Howard,
The damping factor has nothing to do with the bass of an amplifiers, UNLESS it is relatively high (tube amps and class D amp can have this technical problem).

The wiring/passive components and PSU determine the bass quality of normal amplifiers, this being the reason why my little LE integrated amplifiers have good bass.

I would guess that changing the effective output series impedance would not make much difference ... until you reach really high level and the method adopted to change the output impedance could have significant sonic consequences (far more that actually changing the output impedance itself).

A high output impedance tends to make the timing a problem, goes out of control, but suffers from sounding as if the bass timing is behind the music (this is bit i hate more).

To change the bass speed and (bass still appears correct, but has a different emphasis) is very difficult to do and i have only found that cables can do this reasonably successfully.

You can get a relatively fast coherent bass from simple inexpensive cables, but only the larger more expensive cables can you achieve the foundation and weight with speed in the bass.

Cheap cables trying to add bass weight tend add a hump sonically and start to produce the timing problems because they are adding a coloration i.e.they are not extending the subjective bandwidth.

Really high quality bass appears not to be present until a bass line comes along and you then hear the bass.

I could weaken the bass quality of my amplifiers simply by changing a few parts!



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