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What is up with Class D amplification?

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Joey_V

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Can someone explain to me why Class D is getting to be real popular? Is it better than a traditional SS amp?

Thanks!
 

miljac

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Joey,

AFAIK the reasons are mostly economic:

1. less material involved (power supply, heatsinks)
2. high efficiency (much less mains power is dissipated in heat)
3. smaller case & less weight (see 1)

costing considerably less in manufacturing
especially AV receivers benefit from it, so they don't have to be 50kg monsters to pack 7 100-watt channels in one case :)

sonically cannot tell, have not heard any so far, have heard only some Linn stuff with switching power supply [part of 1)] and it does sound very good indeed.

Have read though that some new models (e.g. Yamaha and Sony, not sure about exact models) sound really high-endish.
 

socialxray

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Class D or any "switching" amplifier used to not be considered high-end because of sound quality issues. There are specific reasons for this but only an electronical engineer could explain them. I believe that these issues are being resolved. Time marches on and technology improves. I have not heard any D-class amps but I am excited about them for all of the previously mentioned reasons. This is if they sound good of course.

BTW a lot of D-class amps are used in subwoofers and in the Summit too!
 

Joey_V

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So is it correct to say that the new wave of digital receivers sound better than the previous generation of regular receivers?

Does this mean that even digital receivers compete with separates now (in terms of amplification)?

Is this the end for traditional super amps from Krell and Levinson?
 

Robin

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Bob Carver - Class "D" amplifier Inventor / Innovator...

Joey_V said:
So is it correct to say that the new wave of digital receivers sound better than the previous generation of regular receivers?

Does this mean that even digital receivers compete with separates now (in terms of amplification)?

Is this the end for traditional super amps from Krell and Levinson?
Joey,

IMHO, I maybe with newer electronic innovations and inventions it could be possible for the newer class D amps to sound better. I have not listened to the newest class D yet like Panasonic, but I have heard Bob Carver's Sunfire Cinema Grand class D amps. Check this out:

http://www.martinloganowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=784&highlight=Sunfire+Cinema+Grand

IMHO, I think if you read Bob Carver's white paper on the Sunfire Cinema Class D amplifiers, it will shead some light, it's quite informative... ;) I think Class D recievers / separates SS amplifier competition, won't push out Class A seporate amps. For one thing Class A amps sound different to my ears. Class A and D recievers / seporates have been competing for years. IMHO, Krell and Mark Levinson, Anthem class A amps will definately live long and prosper, simply because they do have a different sonic signature / image... :D

http://www.sunfire.com/technology.htm

Yeah, Bob Carver invented a super powered subwoofer with a 'candy bar' sized class D amp. in it that could produce 2500 watts of power... :D
 

Reverb

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After having my Sunfire for a few years now I am on a mission to replace it, and I don’t plain on ever buying another one again. The idea of a small box with lots of power and little heat is a grate idea but the sound lacks accuracy, bass punch, and those finer dynamics. The casual listener my like an amp like the Sunfire, but for a critical listener, I would pick a different amp.
 

stesom

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Zip3kx07 said:
After having my Sunfire for a few years now I am on a mission to replace it, and I don’t plain on ever buying another one again. The idea of a small box with lots of power and little heat is a grate idea but the sound lacks accuracy, bass punch, and those finer dynamics. The casual listener my like an amp like the Sunfire, but for a critical listener, I would pick a different amp.
I just wonder if they have overcome some of the past limitations and have finally made enough progress to actually call class "D" audiphile approved. I have not spent time listening, but you never know what the new stuff is like. Hell, I am from the old school and if it dont weigh a ton and get really hot it can't be an amp, so I am with ya, but maybe an old dog can learn a new trick.
 

MarkNewbie

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I have to admit that this is a very interesting discussion as one of the measurements of a good Amp is just how many watts of power are in the Class A realm. I have seen from as little as 3 to as much as 70. It was one of the criteria that I used in selecting my amp. Some of the Class D supporting documentation that I am seeing on here and in some google searches, is predominately coming from people trying to sell us Class D equipment. I think that is significant in and of itself. I find the loss of power vs. lack of heat arguement weak at best. If heat, lots of watts, and Class A power gives better sound, isn't that what we are all seeking? Just my thoughts. Somebody is sure to step up and flame me but please remember, this is only my opinion and I ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer. :eek:
 

Spike

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stesom said:
Hell, I am from the old school and if it dont weigh a ton and get really hot it can't be an amp, so I am with ya, but maybe an old dog can learn a new trick.
You forgot the... glowing glass tubes! :D On the otherhand, there are notable "new school" products from Jeff Rowland Design (model 201), Channel Island Audio, and NuForce. I've never heard any of these amps, but lots of people raved about these already that I'm almost tempted to audition one of these days.

MarkNewbie said:
Somebody is sure to step up and flame me.
Mark, if heat is what you're after, better put on your flame suit fast for they're coming!!!


Spike
 
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MarkNewbie

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Spike said:
Mark, if heat is what you're after, better put on your flame suit fast for they're coming!!!


Spike
Spike, your advice has been duely noted and will be followed. Most likely followed by screams of agony on my part. Hehehe :eek:
 

Robin

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Flamming Mark...

MarkNewbie said:
I have to admit that this is a very interesting discussion as one of the measurements of a good Amp is just how many watts of power are in the Class A realm. I have seen from as little as 3 to as much as 70. It was one of the criteria that I used in selecting my amp. Some of the Class D supporting documentation that I am seeing on here and in some google searches, is predominately coming from people trying to sell us Class D equipment. I think that is significant in and of itself. I find the loss of power vs. lack of heat arguement weak at best. If heat, lots of watts, and Class A power gives better sound, isn't that what we are all seeking? Just my thoughts. Somebody is sure to step up and flame me but please remember, this is only my opinion and I ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Mark,

With your Pass X-350 Amp, your McIntosh C2200 preamp along with your Shanling CDT200A SACD player combination you're system is just too darn hot..., you've got all the flames you need and then some... :D

Leave us not forget the advent of Tube / SS Hybirds like Pathos and Butler.

If we're talking SS, my ears prefer the loverly sound of Class A amplifiers. From everything I've read and auditioned, I am longing for the very best sounds to my ears, I am referring of course to the beautiful unique special combination of Tubed (pre and / or amps) with SS Class A amps... :D Mark, Wardsweb and SugarMedia and others here have also had excellent sucess with tubed CD / SACD players additions as well.

For my ears I will probably never own a class D, although I strongly considered class D and auditioned Sunfire's Cinema Grand, it's just not my preferred sound. Having said that, I will continue to keep an open mind to any new improvements or inventions in class D. Occasionally auditioning a class D here and their is fun too... :)

I must say, I have enjoyed flamming you Mark... :D
 

DTB300

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Robin said:
If we're talking SS, my ears prefer the loverly sound of Class A amplifiers.
Cool...which ones have your heard and which have you liked?

For my ears I will probably never own a class D, although I strongly considered class D and auditioned Sunfire's Cinema Grand, it's just not my preferred sound. Having said that, I will continue to keep an open mind to any new improvements or inventions in class D. Occasionally auditioning a class D here and their is fun too... :)
Never say never. :)

The Channel Islands Amps are getting some very nice reviews, along with Nuforce - which is a modification of the Class D amps, and some others that slip my mind for now. Until I can actually listen to one of these amps, it is hard for me to ever say I would never buy one.

Dan
 

Robin

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Class D amplifiers...

DTB300 said:
Cool...which ones have your heard and which have you liked?


Never say never. :)

The Channel Islands Amps are getting some very nice reviews, along with Nuforce - which is a modification of the Class D amps, and some others that slip my mind for now. Until I can actually listen to one of these amps, it is hard for me to ever say I would never buy one.

Dan
Dan,

Anthem P5, Cary Audio, Sim Audio, you know the same ones I auditioned prior to my purchase of the Anthem P5 at the end of August 05. Those amplifiers sounded beautiful, it was a good experience for sure.

I know you are correct, especially with all the technological advances in the world today, I should really never say never... ;) You never know when a fantastic breakthrough could happen. I will have to listen to a Class "D", Nuforce amp sometime to see how it sounds. :D

I really should get back out their and listen to some amplifiers and electrical gear just for the fun of it. It is interesting and enjoyable.
 
A

AlanW

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Edge Electronics also makes an Excellent amp with the same digital technology. I have one playing on my Ascent's and it sounds great.
The one I am using is the High Output version which is 400 wpc and just takes control of the electrostatic panel with pinpoint imaging and sounds very natural.

http://www.edgeamp.com/gpoint5.html

There are demo's at audiogon at a great price.
 
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T

tsd2005

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The Sony Digital Receivers are ok, but they aren't good for music imho.

Class D amps are all the rage for good reasons. The most important is cost for a lot of decisions. Class D has improved in the last 18 months, but I still think that many of them just can't hold up to a real amp or receiver for that matter.

Bel Canto Designs makes the worlds best Digital amps imho, and they're not "Class D," but "Class T," if memory serves. Same benefits minus cost. They cost a pretty penny, but they sound amazing.

Bel Canto hooked up to Martin Logans is one of the best combos I've ever heard now that I think about it.
 

amey01

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Joey_V said:
Is this the end for traditional super amps from Krell and Levinson?


My bet would be no. As people have stated, greater [electrical] efficiency means cheaper production which will give a better cost-performance ratio.

My bet would be that we will soon start to see a stream of cheaper, better performing budget receivers, but anything not in the "budget" category will be safe!. Of course there will also be some niche applications where efficiency is beneficial, such is in subwoofer amplifiers, etc.
 

DavidG

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tsd2005 said:
Bel Canto hooked up to Martin Logans is one of the best combos I've ever heard now that I think about it.
Agreed. I heard the eVo 2 hooked up to Ascent i's around a year ago, and it simply blew me away. The purity of sound from this combination was just mind-blowing. I'm just not sure about the longevity of the IC based design that they're using. . . . time will tell though!

Cheers,

David
 

jmschnur

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My Carver 1.5T still sounds fairly nice on my B&W 801s (both over 20 years old). They sound better at lower power(where the amp operates at class A and the bass is a bit weak in this system especially with loud transients. String quartets sound quite nice for example on the B&Ws. I believe Carver tried to emulate the sound of the Levinson amp with the !.5T version. There is an older review in Sterophile that describes the result in a side by side comparison.

I am sure a newer amp would do better but I went to an investment into HT in my other room which has plenty of bass via a sub woofer and nice ML speakers.

Joel
 
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