What is your favorite class D amplifier? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 53 Old 02-22-2016, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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What is your favorite class D amplifier?

I'm looking for a class D amp that can easily output 250-300 amps into a 4 ohm load. I need 15 channels of output total so maybe three 5 channel amps or whatever other combinations make sense. This is for a 9.1.6 dedicated Atmos room. Note the subs will be handled with Crest Audio Pro Lite 7.5 - just need to decide on the amps for the non-subs.

I prefer class D mainly because i need to keep the temperature and fan noise down. That said I'd be open to class AB amps as well provided they can run cool. I'm not opposed to using higher powered amps if it means running at 250 watts is a smaller load and runs cooler and quieter. The LCR are rated max 250 and the rest of the speakers are rated max 200. I doubt I'll be pushing that much through these except for small peaks since I don't usually listen at reference levels.

What do you recommend? Thanks!!
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post #2 of 53 Old 02-22-2016, 11:36 AM
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Crown XLS are great and a popular choice. The 1500, 2000, and 2500 are cheap, silent, and cool. The 1000 has a bit higher noise floor, so you might want to avoid that model. They are only 2 channel though so you would need a decent amount of rack space.
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post #3 of 53 Old 02-22-2016, 12:01 PM
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Crown XLS/XTi amps are popular for power/dollar. D-Sonic (http://www.d-sonic.net/products/mult...el-amplifiers/) makes a full line of class D amplifiers. What is your budget?

For surrounds, and even mains, that is probably more power than needed; you do not need to match amplifier power to speaker ratings. An online SPL calcualtor might help: http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

I have used a couple of Crest amps in the past and had problems with them, but that was years ago so they may have gotten more reliable. Or I may just have gotten a couple of bad ones.

FWIWFM - Don

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #4 of 53 Old 02-22-2016, 02:50 PM
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I don't have a favorite class d amp, but I do own a crown xls2000. It runs cool quiet and puts out 375wattsX2 8ohms 1khz, 650wattsX2 4ohms 1khz.

Only problem with the xls series amps is the noise floor is high compared to av receivers.
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post #5 of 53 Old 02-22-2016, 03:25 PM
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At a higher price point the NAD M22 and M27 amplifiers should be great, and likewise Wyred4Sound.

Also, there are the not well advertised Parasound Zonemaster series, I think new Abletec class D modules.
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post #6 of 53 Old 02-22-2016, 03:45 PM
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We have installed/sold many, many Crown XLS DriveCore amplifiers...
Superb reliabilty, great sonics and good value on a per watts basis.


Just my $0.02...
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post #7 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 12:17 PM
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@M Code -- Any comments on XLS vs. XTi series amps? Just curious, thanks. - Don

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley

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post #8 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Crown XLS/XTi amps are popular for power/dollar. D-Sonic (http://www.d-sonic.net/products/mult...el-amplifiers/) makes a full line of class D amplifiers. What is your budget?

For surrounds, and even mains, that is probably more power than needed; you do not need to match amplifier power to speaker ratings. An online SPL calcualtor might help: http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

I have used a couple of Crest amps in the past and had problems with them, but that was years ago so they may have gotten more reliable. Or I may just have gotten a couple of bad ones.

FWIWFM - Don
Thanks everyone - I appreciate the great info. The M22 amp - is that a single channel? The picture on the website shows just one output and when I look around through the literature it does say x watts per channel but nowhere that I can find does it say how many channels...? Crest looks good but the XLS is only 2 watts per amp. Ideally I'd have at least 4 or 5 channels per amp to keep the rack space to a minimum.

Don - yes I've heard of D-Sonic. Looks interesting. Pricey tho, from what I recall. Lots of opinions on whether one can really hear a difference between amps. So its hard to judge how important it is to pick a higher end / more audiophile friendly amp vs a more budget name.

For non-class D amps, I like what I've read about ATI, Emotiva, and Outlaw. But those are going to generate a lot of heat and take up more rack space. So if really you can't hear a difference between those and good Class D amps I'd rather go with Class D to keep the rack space and heat down...
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post #9 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 01:13 PM
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@Kev H pointed these out recently, complete amps as well as kits, look interesting. I'm happy with the Crown XLS1500s I have.
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post #10 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 01:37 PM
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A number of folk have gone with XLS amps and are very happy with the sound as well as savings in SWaP (size, weight, and power) and cost. D-Sonic offers a nice price point (though still high compared to my cheapie Emotiva's) before the "high-end" class D amps from Classe', Levinson, etc.
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"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #11 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 02:07 PM
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Sunfire. High power, low heat.
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post #12 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 02:43 PM
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Here's one more +1 for the Crown XLS DriveCore amps. Even the XLS-1000 puts out more than enough power for most speakers. The 2000/2500 would be a better choice for sub duty. They are very quiet and don't generate much heat. If you don't mind altering the fan that Behringer puts in their class d iNuke amps you can get a 4 channel amp for a great price. I've never heard them but there seems to be lots of good reviews of them. Get four of them and you'll have one extra channel. You'd need 8 XLS amps if you go that route. Crown has a 3 year warranty which is easily transferred to the next owner. The XLS-1000 reportedly has an audible noise floor but I've never heard it. My center and surrounds are dead silent. The center is connected to the 1000 in bridged mode which should double the noise floor - I don't hear anything with no source playing. Of course YMMV.

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post #13 of 53 Old 02-24-2016, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post
Here's one more +1 for the Crown XLS DriveCore amps. Even the XLS-1000 puts out more than enough power for most speakers. The 2000/2500 would be a better choice for sub duty. They are very quiet and don't generate much heat. If you don't mind altering the fan that Behringer puts in their class d iNuke amps you can get a 4 channel amp for a great price. I've never heard them but there seems to be lots of good reviews of them. Get four of them and you'll have one extra channel. You'd need 8 XLS amps if you go that route. Crown has a 3 year warranty which is easily transferred to the next owner. The XLS-1000 reportedly has an audible noise floor but I've never heard it. My center and surrounds are dead silent. The center is connected to the 1000 in bridged mode which should double the noise floor - I don't hear anything with no source playing. Of course YMMV.
You can also spend a bit more and get the Crown CT series amps in a more compact version for less rack space, up to 8 channels.
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post #14 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great info guys. Sounds like a lot of votes for the XLS series. Can I get some clarification please on the comments that multiple people have made about the XLS having a lower noise floor? What does that mean exactly and what are the downsides to that (hiss etc?) and when does it become an issue (playing at low levels or high levels or...)? If I purchase an amp to check it out, what should I listen for to see if the low noise floor is an issue?

I am thinking about trying the second generation amps which are the DriveCore 2 Series. In particular I am interested in the XLS 1002 (350w) or XLS 1502 (525w). The 350w is plenty since my max is 250 for LCR and 200 for the rest of the speakers. However - getting back to the noise floor - I see this in the specs:
XLS 1002: "97dB (at .775Vrms sensitivity, 6dB lower)"
XLS 1502: "103dB (at .775Vrms, 6dB lower)"

So apparently whatever the (potential) issue is with the 1000/1002 with the noise floor, it seems it may be less (or no?) issue with the 1502?

Outside of this potential noise issue, I like what I'm reading here about the XLS. The biggest downside I readily see is that it will take 16RU to house the 8 2 channel amps. I much prefer 4 4 channel amps...

I've heard good things about D-Sonic, but if I am reading their pricing correctly, their amps are about 5x the cost of the XLS. Is there really a material difference in the sound quality of one vs the other?

Another option I'm considering is the QSC DCA line. They have 4 channel x 400wpc amps that I hear good things about. Any opinions out there on those QSC amps? I know its not a main reason to pick this amp, but aside from the good things I've heard about them the DCA amps only take up 2RU for each 4 channels so that's half the rack space compared to the QSC DCA amps and other 4 channel 2RU units.

Thanks!
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post #15 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:12 PM
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The SNR is better on the 1500/1502 and up than it is on the 1000/1002 as you mention. Whether you will hear it to a level that's annoying/intrusive.....what speakers are they? I wouldn't worry about their wattage ratings so much as their sensitivity ratings in this regard....as it has been high sensitivity speakers in a quiet room particularly where the hiss/noise level has been reported annoying/intrusive on the XLS. When I used the XLS1500s on my mains (87dB sensitive) there was some hiss if you put your ear up to the speaker, but not an issue a foot away. YMMV.
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post #16 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Also guys what is the difference between the Crown XLS vs DSi series?
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post #17 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
@Kev H pointed these out recently, complete amps as well as kits, look interesting. I'm happy with the Crown XLS1500s I have.
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The SNR is better on the 1500/1502 and up than it is on the 1000/1002 as you mention. Whether you will hear it to a level that's annoying/intrusive.....what speakers are they? I wouldn't worry about their wattage ratings so much as their sensitivity ratings in this regard....as it has been high sensitivity speakers in a quiet room particularly where the hiss/noise level has been reported annoying/intrusive on the XLS. When I used the XLS1500s on my mains (87dB sensitive) there was some hiss if you put your ear up to the speaker, but not an issue a foot away. YMMV.
Yes the speakers are 87 dB efficiency at 1w/1m (listed at 90 dB at 2.83V /1m but since they are 4 ohm speakers that really means 87 dB @ 1w/1m). Any amount of his except perhaps a very very faint hiss with your ear up at the speaker would be bothersome.
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post #18 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post
Thanks for all the great info guys. Sounds like a lot of votes for the XLS series. Can I get some clarification please on the comments that multiple people have made about the XLS having a lower noise floor? What does that mean exactly and what are the downsides to that (hiss etc?) and when does it become an issue (playing at low levels or high levels or...)? If I purchase an amp to check it out, what should I listen for to see if the low noise floor is an issue?

I am thinking about trying the second generation amps which are the DriveCore 2 Series. In particular I am interested in the XLS 1002 (350w) or XLS 1502 (525w). The 350w is plenty since my max is 250 for LCR and 200 for the rest of the speakers. However - getting back to the noise floor - I see this in the specs:
XLS 1002: "97dB (at .775Vrms sensitivity, 6dB lower)"
XLS 1502: "103dB (at .775Vrms, 6dB lower)"

So apparently whatever the (potential) issue is with the 1000/1002 with the noise floor, it seems it may be less (or no?) issue with the 1502?

Outside of this potential noise issue, I like what I'm reading here about the XLS. The biggest downside I readily see is that it will take 16RU to house the 8 2 channel amps. I much prefer 4 4 channel amps...

I've heard good things about D-Sonic, but if I am reading their pricing correctly, their amps are about 5x the cost of the XLS. Is there really a material difference in the sound quality of one vs the other?

Another option I'm considering is the QSC DCA line. They have 4 channel x 400wpc amps that I hear good things about. Any opinions out there on those QSC amps? I know its not a main reason to pick this amp, but aside from the good things I've heard about them the DCA amps only take up 2RU for each 4 channels so that's half the rack space compared to the QSC DCA amps and other 4 channel 2RU units.

Thanks!
Crown recommends the xls drive core for home use.i run an xls 2500 for my fronts and 2 xls 1502's for center and sourrounds. (new model of 1500).I think they are great.i have no prob comparing them to the high dollar amps I used to use.they take up so little space and are so efficient. And zero fan noise.and I get crazy loud.

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post #19 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:20 PM
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Crown recommends the xls drive core for home use.i run an xls 2500 for my fronts and 2 xls 1502's for center and sourrounds. (new model of 1500).I think they are great.i have no prob comparing them to the high dollar amps I used to use.they take up so little space and are so efficient. And zero fan noise.and I get crazy loud.

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Oh.the hiss.no problem.the xls 1000 (1002)you can hear a ft or so away from the speaker.it is rated 97dbs noise floor.i tried them. It wasn't a big deal but I swapped them out for the 1502s (1500s) which are103db noise floor .just because I'm that way

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post #20 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:22 PM
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Also guys what is the difference between the Crown XLS vs DSi series?
Lots more dsp and connectivity in the DSi, all the XLS has is some crossover based dsp; I assume a significant price difference. Wonder if its even a DriveCore series of amp? http://www.crownaudio.com/media/wysi...Data_Sheet.pdf
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post #21 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh.the hiss.no problem.the xls 1000 (1002)you can hear a ft or so away from the speaker.it is rated 97dbs noise floor.i tried them. It wasn't a big deal but I swapped them out for the 1502s (1500s) which are103db nodefloor .just because I'm that way

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Thanks. So with the XLS 1000/1002 you can hear hiss from a foot or so away. But when you went with the 1502 you could not hear ANY hiss (even with your ear up to it), or it was lower / had to get closer to it?

BTW in any event - this hiss if it is present - am I correct to assume you can only hear it when the speakers are silent and you are close to it, and that the hiss doesn't just get louder as you turn up the volume? I know that can't be the case because no one would probably buy them if so but just had to ask.
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post #22 of 53 Old 02-26-2016, 11:30 PM
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Thanks. So with the XLS 1000/1002 you can hear hiss from a foot or so away. But when you went with the 1502 you could not hear ANY hiss (even with your ear up to it), or it was lower / had to get closer to it?

BTW in any event - this hiss if it is present - am I correct to assume you can only hear it when the speakers are silent and you are close to it, and that the hiss doesn't just get louder as you turn up the volume? I know that can't be the case because no one would probably buy them if so but just had to ask.
Will be zero problem from your seating position.do you stand with ur ear right up to ur speaker when listening to music/movies.I for one am very happy I went this route.i thank Andrew Robinson for the info that these amps simply do wonders.and for the price. They are simply gold ...my opinion .and I'm picky

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post #23 of 53 Old 02-27-2016, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Will be zero problem from your seating position.do you stand with ur ear right up to ur speaker when listening to music/movies.I for one am very happy I went this route.i thank Andrew Robinson for the info that these amps simply do wonders.and for the price. They are simply gold ...my opinion .and I'm picky

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Well, now that you mention it... I'll have an alcove in the room with a window-seat style bench in the alcove. A few inches directly behind their head when seated will be acoustic fabric for a fake wall. Less than an inch from there will be the speaker. So yes for some seating positions someones ear may be less than a foot from the side surround speaker. And even though the bigger issue is that they will be getting blasted with sound from that speaker right in their ear, it would be nice if they did not hear a hiss there.

So I'd like to understand the difference that going from the 1000/1002 to 1500/1502 would make in this regard... With the 1000/1002 we can expect very low hiss when listening right up against the speaker. In your case (I think you were the one that said you went from the 100x to the 150x?) with the 1500/1502 is tge completely gone or still there but even fainter?
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Also guys what is the difference between the Crown XLS vs DSi series?
I own both. I use the DSi to actively drive my JBL 4722 and the XLS 1502 for Atmos and surrounds. One thing to note is that the XLS have your standard connectors (speakon, XLR, etc..). The DSi has phoenix connectors. It's not hard to buy an XLR to phoenix connector off Amazon but just something to consider.
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Check out the 8 channel Sanway DA5008 amp for a low cost option - less than $100/channel with 500W at 8 ohm with 109dB S/N.

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post #26 of 53 Old 02-27-2016, 01:24 PM
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Well, now that you mention it... I'll have an alcove in the room with a window-seat style bench in the alcove. A few inches directly behind their head when seated will be acoustic fabric for a fake wall. Less than an inch from there will be the speaker. So yes for some seating positions someones ear may be less than a foot from the side surround speaker. And even though the bigger issue is that they will be getting blasted with sound from that speaker right in their ear, it would be nice if they did not hear a hiss there.

So I'd like to understand the difference that going from the 1000/1002 to 1500/1502 would make in this regard... With the 1000/1002 we can expect very low hiss when listening right up against the speaker. In your case (I think you were the one that said you went from the 100x to the 150x?) with the 1500/1502 is tge completely gone or still there but even fainter?
Your processor /reciever and interconnects play a big part in it also.i think you're over thinking this hiss thing.get the 1502 and try it.you can always return it.but I think you will be pleased

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post #27 of 53 Old 02-27-2016, 03:17 PM
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XLS Drivecore is genius. Gobs of power and very quiet. I've only seen the fan go on, but never heard it. BUT, the DSP only has crossover selection and the HPF doesn't go below 50hz. For sub use, I bypass the crossover.

Another great option is the Behringer Inuke. The DSP is fantastic, tons of power, BUT the fan roars. If the amp is staying in the room, you have to do a fan mod by changing it to a quieter one.

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post #28 of 53 Old 02-27-2016, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vitod View Post
XLS Drivecore is genius. Gobs of power and very quiet. I've only seen the fan go on, but never heard it. BUT, the DSP only has crossover selection and the HPF doesn't go below 50hz. For sub use, I bypass the crossover.

Another great option is the Behringer Inuke. The DSP is fantastic, tons of power, BUT the fan roars. If the amp is staying in the room, you have to do a fan mod by changing it to a quieter one.
Thanks for the info. The rack will be outside the room, but still in an area where I will walk by and want to keep the noise down. Likewise I want to keep the heat down too so it is easier to keep the rack cool. As for DSP, I plan to use a Qsys QSC Core DSP processor which provides complete flexiblity for all DSP across all channels including individual DSP control over my 4 HST-18 subs (which will be driven by two Crest ProLiite 7.5). So really I am just looking for the best class D amplifier which is going to stay true to the sound, run cool and quiet and provide the dynamic range and other things you'd want out of a high quality amp, without concern about DSP. Does this change the opinion in favor of the XLS or perhaps it strengthens it even more, considering that DSP control seems to be a bit of a shortcoming (which wouldn't apply in my case)?
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post #29 of 53 Old 05-08-2016, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post
Thanks for the info. The rack will be outside the room, but still in an area where I will walk by and want to keep the noise down. Likewise I want to keep the heat down too so it is easier to keep the rack cool. As for DSP, I plan to use a Qsys QSC Core DSP processor which provides complete flexiblity for all DSP across all channels including individual DSP control over my 4 HST-18 subs (which will be driven by two Crest ProLiite 7.5). So really I am just looking for the best class D amplifier which is going to stay true to the sound, run cool and quiet and provide the dynamic range and other things you'd want out of a high quality amp, without concern about DSP. Does this change the opinion in favor of the XLS or perhaps it strengthens it even more, considering that DSP control seems to be a bit of a shortcoming (which wouldn't apply in my case)?
I know this thread is getting old - but FWIW I just fired up my new D-Sonic last night - couldn't be happier. No internal fans, runs cool, sleek, not sure if rack-mountable though. Fits great in my Salamander cabinet. I do not believe it contributes anything sonically other than delivering a signal to the speakers, that then will do what they will with the signal. Very pleased thus far.
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post #30 of 53 Old 05-08-2016, 01:57 PM
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^^^

Just get a rack shelf if no "ears" are available for the D-Sonic.

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