Originally Posted by vitaminbass
I was thinking the same thing. If this were as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich, why wouldn't we have had eight pound, cool running 3000 watt amps say, ten years ago? I'm more of a marketing minded person than technical, at least when it comes to a class D amp. But there had to be some new development either in a key component, or the control of the comonents. And two of the major brands just happen to decide it's a good idea to develope this, at nearly the same time. The argument that light weight amps arent' worth the cost doesn't fly...if the IPRs and INukes are selling now, I'm sure there would have been a market for them in the past as well.
People in the pro sound business would love to load out a rack full of 8 pound amps vs. 45++ pound amps. Cost is higher, yes...but I've spoken with a few guys with a modest budget that would be happy to pay a bit more if it means taking off that much weight.
High frequency switching power supplies were developed in the car audio industry and made more popular than found in home audio. These power supplies often referred to as "Switch Mode Power Supplies" aka SMPS were difficult to engineer in the 1970's and beyond as nobody really understood the science well enough to execute a product.
George C.Chryssis published a book in the 1980's called "High Frequency Switching Power Supplies: Theory and Design" that is a "bible" for SMPS design
and often still used today for reference.
While we do see SMPS in different applications and the theory of operation is easy to understand, often the average Electrical Engineer coming out of school with their BSEE or MSEE degree still has no clue on how to make a working and reliable product. You have to find a career power supply designer in order to make a good product.
In theory, the SMPS design has a higher chance of failure than a conventional power supply design because the number of semiconductor parts used is much higher. All you need is 2-4 simple semicondutor parts to make a conventional power supply work well and be reliable. But the SMPS bill of material is greater in size. Another thing is that a conventional power supply is more rubust to power
anomalies where an SMPS can "break" if it's not designed with extra protection circuits (more semiconductors).
There is a trade off.
Conventional PS design = Large, heavy, simple.
SMPS design = Small, light, complex.
If you were to build a power supply for a "life support, mission critical" application, you better not be doing SMPS
-- analogy -- It's like running Windows operating system vs. Linux