Do amplifier classes matter? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 86 Old 11-02-2013, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm guessing not.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #2 of 86 Old 11-02-2013, 06:01 PM
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yes it depends on application.
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post #3 of 86 Old 11-02-2013, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datranz View Post

yes it depends on application.

Application? I'm talking for home use where you don't need more than 100 watts per channel, if that.

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post #4 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 05:15 AM
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No, it really doesnt. Unless you want Class A, in which case it will probably suck enough power to dim the lights in your neighborhood, even when idling!tongue.gif
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post #5 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 09:00 AM
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I've had 3 Class A amps in my system for a number of years. 2 modified Threshold T-50's and a Forte 4A. They have been able to handle any speaker I've matched it with, including Thiel 2.3's. The downside they do run hot (never watch Lawrence of Arabia in the summer) plus your electric bill will also run higher. But they are trouble free and able to handle a variety of speakers including Maggies.smile.gif
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post #6 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

I'm guessing not.

Depends which classes.

If sound quality is the only criteria then class A versus class AB versus class G/H mean nothing.

Class D versus A/AB/G/H can mean something because switchmode amps still often have some relatively minor but possibly audible frequency response funnies in the top octave.

If class C were used in high quality audio it would mean something as compared to all the rest, which is why it is not used in high quality audio, just RF.
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post #7 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 10:40 AM
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in your application, besides class A, no. No as in not enough to matter.
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post #8 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 11:18 AM
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I used to be a firm believer that Class A were the best but modern Class A/B are fine in my opinion. smile.gif
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post #9 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

No, it really doesnt. Unless you want Class A, in which case it will probably suck enough power to dim the lights in your neighborhood, even when idling!tongue.gif

My 25 watt class A Technics "only" uses about 160 watts. Of course the 100w amps use much more than that.

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Originally Posted by diablo676 View Post

I used to be a firm believer that Class A were the best but modern Class A/B are fine in my opinion. smile.gif

You forgot about "new class A" tongue.gif Seriously though class A, to me, sounds better, but here's one thing that concerns me: Class A runs very hot, especially at low volume, so if you ask me that would take a toll on the capacitors, correct?

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post #10 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 01:06 PM
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What matters in an amplifier are a frequency response within a couple of db of flat and inaudible distortion. Virtually all audio amplifiers can be designed to provide that. That doesn't mean that all do. But that is what is important. The sonic difference between class A and AB is zero. Pioneer has some Elite receivers with class D amplifiers and they meet the criteria above. It is the performance that matters not the way the power devices are biased.
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post #11 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 09:07 PM
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When I said besides class a, I mean its inefficient, not sound quality. Modern amps at 100w all sound extremely similar unless overdriven to clip.
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post #12 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datranz View Post

When I said besides class a, I mean its inefficient, not sound quality. Modern amps at 100w all sound extremely similar unless overdriven to clip.

That's what I've always though,. I think class B sounds like crap though. What I've been wondering is if amplifiers with a dynamic-bias would be better, because it seems like it's class A without the horrible efficiency, at least my receiver sounds very clean and I don't notice the switching distortion like I do on all my class A/B receivers.

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post #13 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post



That's what I've always though,. I think class B sounds like crap though. What I've been wondering is if amplifiers with a dynamic-bias would be better, because it seems like it's class A without the horrible efficiency, at least my receiver sounds very clean and I don't notice the switching distortion like I do on all my class A/B receivers.

Modern class AB amps use bias settings such that they run effectively in class A at times of low signals (probably 97% of the time) but have minimal crossover distortion when the signal increases.

Thirty years ago I could often see crossover distortion on inferior types of class AB amps on my oscilloscope, but that isn't the case nowadays - even with inexpensive kit. There tend to be compensation circuits built in as well as the higher bias.

Class A may still be better when amps get older, as failing components may not have so much of a bad effect. smile.gif
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post #14 of 86 Old 11-03-2013, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diablo676 View Post

Modern class AB amps use bias settings such that they run effectively in class A at times of low signals (probably 97% of the time) but have minimal crossover distortion when the signal increases.

Thirty years ago I could often see crossover distortion on inferior types of class AB amps on my oscilloscope, but that isn't the case nowadays - even with inexpensive kit. There tend to be compensation circuits built in as well as the higher bias.

Class A may still be better when amps get older, as failing components may not have so much of a bad effect. smile.gif

I probably used my old Pioneer in class B %50 of the time because It was used up stairs so anytime it needed to be loud it would be pushing (if I had to guess based on the speakers I had at the time) 30-40 watts. So I probably noticed that switching during that type of listening.

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post #15 of 86 Old 11-04-2013, 02:28 AM
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From a power management point, the Class D and D3 amps are very good and have a good SQ found in Pioneer Elite avrs. The amps are close to 90% efficient. A good Class A/B will be at best 60% and Class A will waste more that 50% of it's energy in heat. Heat destroy audio gear. For HT having an efficient system increases headroom and allows for better dynamic range. For people that like running their speakers set to Large this added headroom may be more important. I will venture out on a limb and say Class A and A/B will die out in the near future. There is not that much difference in SQ to justify the use of inefficient amp/avr's for manufactures as the cost to build Class D style amps continue to go down.

My Carver M 400 and Yamaha M 80 use about 50 watts of power for low level listening and my Berhinger I Nuke 3000 DSP use about 10 watts at low listening levels. That is a big difference. The Berhinger is 7 lbs vs 50 lbs for the Yamaha M 80.

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post #16 of 86 Old 11-04-2013, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by derrickdj1 View Post

From a power management point, the Class D and D3 amps are very good and have a good SQ found in Pioneer Elite avrs. The amps are close to 90% efficient. A good Class A/B will be at best 60% and Class A will waste more that 50% of it's energy in heat. Heat destroy audio gear. For HT having an efficient system increases headroom and allows for better dynamic range. For people that like running their speakers set to Large this added headroom may be more important. I will venture out on a limb and say Class A and A/B will die out in the near future. There is not that much difference in SQ to justify the use of inefficient amp/avr's for manufactures as the cost to build Class D style amps continue to go down.

My Carver M 400 and Yamaha M 80 use about 50 watts of power for low level listening and my Berhinger I Nuke 3000 DSP use about 10 watts at low listening levels. That is a big difference. The Berhinger is 7 lbs vs 50 lbs for the Yamaha M 80.

Class A/B dying out? No way.

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post #17 of 86 Old 11-04-2013, 01:40 PM
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While I can no longer find the sources, I've read that Class T (which is really just a trade name for old Class D amps), actually does have some audible deficiencies compared with the more common designs. From what I remember, in the early days of Class D, it truly was inferior to A and A/B. Class T, often used in really cheap amps, uses the inferior 80's design that has a worse SNR.
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post #18 of 86 Old 11-04-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexwgoody View Post

While I can no longer find the sources, I've read that Class T (which is really just a trade name for old Class D amps), actually does have some audible deficiencies compared with the more common designs. From what I remember, in the early days of Class D, it truly was inferior to A and A/B. Class T, often used in really cheap amps, uses the inferior 80's design that has a worse SNR.

It's used for low wattage amplifier and doesn't sound too bad, considering the price.

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post #19 of 86 Old 11-04-2013, 08:15 PM
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I own Class A, Class A/B and Class D. The sound quality of the newer Class D or D3 amp is exceptional. Class D amps were common in subwoofer in the pass where distortion was not as big of an issue. Class A/B is a good amp also. More efficient than Class A. There is nothing magical about carrying around 100 lb Class amp. The signal chain in the D3 amp by Pioneer is shorter than their Class D or Ice amp. From a design standpoint it is better, From an audible standpoint it is hard to tell. Class D amp will become cheap to make compared to Class A/B. Only time will tell.smile.gif

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post #20 of 86 Old 11-04-2013, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexwgoody View Post

While I can no longer find the sources, I've read that Class T (which is really just a trade name for old Class D amps), actually does have some audible deficiencies compared with the more common designs. From what I remember, in the early days of Class D, it truly was inferior to A and A/B. Class T, often used in really cheap amps, uses the inferior 80's design that has a worse SNR.

T amplifiers were derived from Tri-Path Corp. which went bankrupt and out of biz in 2007, they were an early type of lower powered Class D.
Not bad sonically in their day but poorly marketed, assets were purchased by Cirrus Logic..

Later Class D amplifiers schemes developed by IR, TI, Ice, Zetech, Intersil and Crown are very solid...
They have optimized the circuits and addressed many of the sonic shortcomings of earlier Class D designs, but still have not been able to penetrate the audio home component market. Apparently the market still desires the bigger, bulky Class-A-B amplifiers. For all-in-1 HT systems, subwoofers, sound bars and OE car audio applications Class D amplifiers are well established..

Just my $0.05... 👍😉
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post #21 of 86 Old 11-05-2013, 10:37 AM
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MCode:

Talk about inflation. Your nickel ($.05), today, used to be your $.02.

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MCode:

Talk about inflation. Your nickel ($.05), today, used to be your $.02.

Jeff

A couple of weeks back..
A few people commented my $0.02 was worthless... 😁
So during the government shutdown while taking inflation in mind, I decided to raise the stakes..
Take care..

Just my $0.05... 👍😉
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post #23 of 86 Old 11-05-2013, 12:31 PM
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Application is the clue. Most amplifiers on the consumer market for home consumption are class A/B. Industrial amps are far larger and pwerful and would often be class C. The digital world and semiconductor advancements have created the D class of solid state amps. All previous power figures are often rated for vacuum tube classes and don't apply to todays equipment. The laboratory dictates the class A amps for any type of measurements of data collection where distortion will not be created in the amplification process.
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post #24 of 86 Old 11-05-2013, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mjd420nova View Post

Application is the clue. Most amplifiers on the consumer market for home consumption are class A/B. Industrial amps are far larger and pwerful and would often be class C. The digital world and semiconductor advancements have created the D class of solid state amps. All previous power figures are often rated for vacuum tube classes and don't apply to todays equipment. The laboratory dictates the class A amps for any type of measurements of data collection where distortion will not be created in the amplification process.

Every pro-amp I've worked with is either class A/B or class D. I've never seen class C used in that application.

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post #25 of 86 Old 11-05-2013, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by M Code View Post

***Later Class D amplifiers schemes developed by IR, TI, Ice, Zetech, Intersil and Crown are very solid...
They have optimized the circuits and addressed many of the sonic shortcomings of earlier Class D designs ***

I'd like to see evidence of that. The big sonic shortcoming of Class D is the output impedance. I don't know of any IR, Zetech, Intersil, or Crown amps that have published results into a simulated speaker load, but I would not call the performance of the TI chip in the Peachtree Decco "high-fidelity":

666Dec65fig11.jpg

That's about 1dB of swing in the midrange! (And a speaker with more impedance variance than Stereophile's "Kantor load" will have cause more response deviations from the amp.) The same review shows basically flat FR from the preamp outputs, so one can reasonably surmise the variation to come from the amp chips.

I agree that Hypex and current Icepower (ASX2) designs are solid and the sonic equivalent of good AB amps. Stereophile "Kantor load" measurements of devices using those modules (Channel Islands for Hypex UcD180, Bel Canto for Icepower 125ASX2) show very little FR variation into the simulated speaker load. I would like to see data for the IR2092, Harman (Crown/Lexicon) DriveCore, and other current Class D amp designs, but cannot presume they are on the same level absent those data.

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post #26 of 86 Old 11-06-2013, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

I'd like to see evidence of that. The big sonic shortcoming of Class D is the output impedance. I don't know of any IR, Zetech, Intersil, or Crown amps that have published results into a simulated speaker load, but I would not call the performance of the TI chip in the Peachtree Decco "high-fidelity":

666Dec65fig11.jpg

That's about 1dB of swing in the midrange! (And a speaker with more impedance variance than Stereophile's "Kantor load" will have cause more response deviations from the amp.) The same review shows basically flat FR from the preamp outputs, so one can reasonably surmise the variation to come from the amp chips.

I agree that Hypex and current Icepower (ASX2) designs are solid and the sonic equivalent of good AB amps. Stereophile "Kantor load" measurements of devices using those modules (Channel Islands for Hypex UcD180, Bel Canto for Icepower 125ASX2) show very little FR variation into the simulated speaker load. I would like to see data for the IR2092, Harman (Crown/Lexicon) DriveCore, and other current Class D amp designs, but cannot presume they are on the same level absent those data.

Be careful..
When evaluating an amplifier's sonic charaterisics by just comparing 2-D AP graphs...
There are many, many amplifiers that measure/display well on a graph but sound terrible... 😠
The Kantor Load though adequate for a limited bandwidth small 2-way loudspeaker does little for illustrating the performance of a high resolution, full-range loudspeaker capable of delivering a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz..

The mentioned Class D solutions, have been highly refined and deliver superb sonics....
You will not find these used very much in price point AVRs as these leader products sold by Amazon,Target, Best Buy and Walmart are sold by some stretched 100W/ch spec, 4 K video and how many HDMI inputs there are...
And 90% of the products are never even demoed...
The implementation of Class D amplifiers are already established strongly in Pro audio, estoteric hi-fi components, multi-media and OE 12V infotainment applications.. Besides quality sonics, they simply offer better cost/performance specs, significantly better power efficiency(>90%) and while being capable of smaller form factors. There are some excellent examples of products with good-sounding Class D amplifiers including the latest Pioneer/Elite utlizing the IR solution plus the excellent Harman/Crown DriveCore technology done by a TI processor.
Regarding Harman International, over the next future product generations one will find their DriveCore technology being implemented in brands from Crown > JBL Pro > Lexicon > JBL Synthesis > Revel > Harman/Kardon..

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post #27 of 86 Old 11-06-2013, 08:39 AM
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m-code, out of these future product generations do you happen to know if any might be under the $1,000. price point? i'm in the process of getting a new avr but will wait if this might be a possibility!

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post #28 of 86 Old 11-06-2013, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ljmart View Post

m-code, out of these future product generations do you happen to know if any might be under the $1,000. price point? i'm in the process of getting a new avr but will wait if this might be a possibility!

Check here..
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Elite+Receivers

Pioneer/Elite has 5 AVRs using Class D (IR) amplifier technology starting @ $1000(SRP) up to $3000, check these out as they can be found for lower pricing by discrete shopping. But be sure to purchase from an authorized dealer so that one gets the validated warranty....

Just my $0.05.... 👍😉
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post #29 of 86 Old 11-06-2013, 01:48 PM
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Industrial amps are far larger and pwerful and would often be class C.

You mean RF transmitter?
Class C amps are never used for audio, and are typically used with a tuned circuit in fixed frequency RF applications.
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post #30 of 86 Old 11-06-2013, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by M Code View Post

Check here..
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Elite+Receivers

Pioneer/Elite has 5 AVRs using Class D (IR) amplifier technology starting @ $1000(SRP) up to $3000, check these out as they can be found for lower pricing by discrete shopping. But be sure to purchase from an authorized dealer so that one gets the validated warranty....

Just my $0.05.... 👍😉
thank you!

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