Bridged versus stereo: Opinions differ ….. of course they do!

A week ago I thought I would experiment with my power amplifiers. I use a Rotel RC850 preamp with two bridged monoblocked power amps but thought I would ‘stereo’ one of the power amps, reconnect everything, and give it a go. The result was very interesting indeed with a much warmer, softer and more musical sound. The overall impression was of a much better sound but there was as usual something not quite right.

I bridged the amplifiers again and put them back into the circuit to see what the difference was. Immediately there was a massive stereo image with cavernous depth that was completely missing from the stereo power amp alone. I was using Younger Brother’s ‘A Flock of Bleeps’ as the test record which is so well known for its stereo effects and this was blatantly obvious with the bridged amps. The sound was less musical but equally more dynamic and powerful with much more slam and guts so for me, the bridged and monoblocked RB850’s are definitely staying.

Source is a Marantz CD 6005 and loudspeakers are KEF Q500’s which I am still amazed by.