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Peter_Klim

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Since a few members here have gone to the CES show, I was wondering if anyone had a chance to check out any digital amplifiers and give their opinion on them here.

Roberto, you've inquired about digital amps here a short time ago and you've gone to the CES show last week. Could you please share with us any experience you may have had?
 

DavidG

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I recently listened to Ascent i on a Bel Canto eVo2 Class T power amp (source was a Wadia 861se), and I can honestly say it was mind-bendingly good.

The quality of sound produced easily rivals the FPB series and is, IMO, more pure than that produced by a Krell, although not as heavy in the bass.

The real beauty of these amps is that they produce a truly incredible sound without the bulk and heat production of Krell or other large class A amps.

I'm currently thinking of changing my current Meridian power to Bel Canto, but retaining the Meridian Pre & Source.

Cheers,

David
 

jjcarr

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Peter_Klim said:
Since a few members here have gone to the CES show, I was wondering if anyone had a chance to check out any digital amplifiers and give their opinion on them here.

Roberto, you've inquired about digital amps here a short time ago and you've gone to the CES show last week. Could you please share with us any experience you may have had?
I can't comment on the show, but I've been using a Bel Canto 200.2 for a while. I ran it on my CLS's, and ReQuests. I also had a chance to connect it to some Odyseeys for a while.

It's an amazing sounding amp. Often claimed to be very SET sounding, which my experience bears out as it seems to make every note more distinct than other amps I've heard. While it drove these speakers well, I do think that running it mono (400w) is a better bet for the larger Logans. The Requests were surprisingly easy to drive, and it would play plenty loud with just one 200.2, 2 would have probably been that much better.

Overall the amps are very clean, but they must be pared with the correct preamp. They tend to be a little lean, I listened to it with a Theta preamp and it sounded a little sterile, but with my Meridian 565 it sounds wonderful, and pair it with a tube amp and your in heaven.

PS: as stated above, I'm a complete convert to the digital amps, not mainly due to the sound, which is very good, but because they are no-fuss amps. Stuff them in a drawer if you want an they will run cool. Which is a big help in setup asthetics and simplicity.

J
 

Craig

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Speaking of digital amps, has anyone heard the PS Audio HCA-2 amp (150wx2@8 ohms)? If all the claims/reviews that I've read on this amp are true then it is a real bargain. Especially on the used market. I'm considering one but would like some imput from ML owners before jumping on it. It would power a pair of Ascents for 2 channel music.
 

roberto

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digital amps...

Peter_Klim said:
Since a few members here have gone to the CES show, I was wondering if anyone had a chance to check out any digital amplifiers and give their opinion on them here.

Roberto, you've inquired about digital amps here a short time ago and you've gone to the CES show last week. Could you please share with us any experience you may have had?
Hola Peter. Well, it looks that digital is winning the war...but my liking is tubes. If I compare digital versus tubes, mmmmmmmmh, gee, I think it depends a lot of your liking and taste. The digital amp (bellcanto) that I listened, here are my impressions: 1) very fast, timbre is right, super dymanic, clean bass, rock sound very good. On the other side, tubes are the opposite, but I like more this kind of sound. Tube is not that fast, and I know that most solid state amps controls better the bass (there is no transformer to match the impedance)...again it is your liking. As I always say, trust your ears and your liking...and my heart is with tubes. You at the Show, can not make a lot of test and listening time, you have an idea, but you need your system to be sure of what you are listening to...unless it is a huge, big, difference...
Happy listening,
Roberto.
 

DavidG

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Class D is getting old now, and is nowhere near as good as the newer Class T amplifiers.

I don't know what the electronic difference is, but my ears know the difference when I hear it! Class T is so much better in every way - timing, speed, dynamic range - everything is better to my ears!

Cheers,

David
 

Peter_Klim

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These amps don't seem to cost too too much either. I'm sure they will quickly start dropping down in price too.


Thanks to everyone who posted!!
 

garmtz

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Most of the class D amps I have listened to have problems with timing and coherence. With coherence, I mean matching the phase of the higher frequencies with the phase of the lower frequencies. In my opinion, it destrys some of the timbre of instruments. It is not so much colouration (they don't colour at all), more like a smearing in the time domain.

The first digital amp that does this right is a very cheap Van Medevoort (Dutch) amp I heard recently. The others will catch up when they know what they know.... :)
 

DavidG

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garmtz said:
Most of the class D amps I have listened to have problems with timing and coherence. With coherence, I mean matching the phase of the higher frequencies with the phase of the lower frequencies. In my opinion, it destrys some of the timbre of instruments. It is not so much colouration (they don't colour at all), more like a smearing in the time domain.

The first digital amp that does this right is a very cheap Van Medevoort (Dutch) amp I heard recently. The others will catch up when they know what they know.... :)

Like I said, I don't know the exact cause, but when you listen to a class T amplifier (e.g. a Bel Canto), it is unbelievably good, whereas the class D amps just don't have anywhere near the quality of sound. What I've also found is that the Bel Canto power amps really match well with MLs.

Cheers,

David
 
J

JasonLiu

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I have been using a PS Audio HCA-2 for two years now and never had a problem- the sound is open, detailed and full of musicality. Never had an issue with timing, coherence, integation etc. The price is great too- a used one sells for about $800 and for that money it is hard to beat. I am curious about the newer PS Audio models with the gain cell technology which is supposed to be an improvement. One thing I like about all digital amps regardless of make or model is that they emit very little heat- cool to touch and very energy efficient- you can leave it on 24/7 literally and it won't burn a hole through your wallet.

Of course like everything else, it helps to match and balance your system to your own listening needs. Good luck!
 

Peter_Klim

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JasonLiu said:
I have been using a PS Audio HCA-2 for two years now and never had a problem- the sound is open, detailed and full of musicality. Never had an issue with timing, coherence, integation etc. The price is great too- a used one sells for about $800 and for that money it is hard to beat. I am curious about the newer PS Audio models with the gain cell technology which is supposed to be an improvement. One thing I like about all digital amps regardless of make or model is that they emit very little heat- cool to touch and very energy efficient- you can leave it on 24/7 literally and it won't burn a hole through your wallet.

Of course like everything else, it helps to match and balance your system to your own listening needs. Good luck!
Is the PS Audio HCA-2 a class D amp?
 
J

JasonLiu

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Peter_Klim said:
Is the PS Audio HCA-2 a class D amp?
Yes, the HCA-2 is Class D which is slightly older digital tech but benefits greatly from some adjustments.

I did a few minor mods and tweaks which helped: changed the cheap monster cable wiring inside to silver wiring; removed the bolt from the transformer and placed it on BDR cones; replaced the stock power cord with PS Audio Lab Cable and now Gutwire C- Clef; put a granite slab on top to dampen the chassis.

At this stage, I really have little to complain about. With the great price going for these units these days, I am thinking of getting a second one and go the bi-amping route (HCA-2 as monoblocks) which should enhance the sound even better.
 

JonFo

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TacT / Boz

At the TacT room at CES they had a new line of 'Boz' branded digital amps. based on a new digital IC's based on LVDS (low voltage balanced signal technology).
They are expandable up to 16 channels from a single master controller. the controller can do the X-Overs as well.
Pair that with a TacT RCS 2.2 or a TCS room correcting front end and you will not believe the transformation in sound.

The designer claims better performance than the current digital amp champ, the Tact Millennium III.

Can't wait to hear about pricing and availability.
 

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