How can class D amplifiers effectively resolve high frequencies? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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How can class D amplifiers effectively resolve high frequencies?

I'm an audio enthusiast but not an expert or engineer, so feel free to correct the gaps in my limited understanding of how class D amplifiers work.

Consider a class D amplifier with a switching frequency of 1 MHz (typical class D amplifiers use somewhere between 250 kHz and 1.5 MHz, and I chose 1 MHz for ease of discussion). Say it's handling a signal of varying amplitude within the dynamic range of 16 bit PCM, with frequencies varying from 10 kHz to 20 kHz.

That 1 MHz switching frequency would give it a minimum pulse width of 1 microsecond. For the sake of this discussion, let's call that minimum pulse width an "interval", so for a 10 kHz frequency there would be 100 intervals per cycle, or just 25 for a quarter-wave. For higher frequencies, there would be fewer than 25 intervals per quarter-wave. I mentioned quarter-wave because the characteristics of a quarter-wave essentially define the whole cycle of the wave.

Although the amplifier isn't a digital device per se, the behavior at each interval is effectively binary; either the pulse extends its width for one more interval, or it switches to the other direction. That can be represented in binary digits, so for example a 12-interval slice could be written as 111110001111 (pulse width of 5 intervals, then 3 intervals in the opposite sign, then 4 back the other way).

Since there are just 25 or fewer intervals in the quarter-wave of a signal of 10 kHz or higher, that's effectively a maximum 25 of bits information for rendering both the frequency and amplitude of the incoming 16-bit signal which has over 2^13 possible integral frequencies between 10 kHz and 20 kHz. I don't get how it's even theoretically possible to do that without sacrificing significant accuracy in the high frequencies, when every pulse width is an integral multiple of the switching interval.
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post #2 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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*25 bits of information
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post #3 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 04:57 PM
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class D was originally mainly used for subs....they sounded like crap full range back in day. some models sound ok nowadays but not interested...I am curious what the answer to your post gets.
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post #4 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
class D was originally mainly used for subs....they sounded like crap full range back in day.
Maybe because of the limitations of resolving high frequencies accurately. I can see how those problems should become negligible with switching frequencies well over 2 MHz, but not for 1 MHz and below.

But practically none of the manufacturers of class D amps publish what their switching frequency is, and most won't even state if any given amp is class D or class AB or what.
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post #5 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 07:43 PM
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This may not be the most brilliantly written article, but see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-D_amplifier

A fixed switching frequency suggests PWM (pulse width modulation). The pulse rate is constant, but the pulse width is proportional to the instantaneous signal voltage.

Class D amps have had issues, but I don't think that temporal sampling of high frequencies is one of them.
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post #6 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 08:36 PM
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The issue is similar to that of a DAC; temporal resolution is not determined by the amp's switching frequency (or DAC's sampling rate). After the output filter is applied there's a smooth curve between starting and ending points of the two edges (samples) so the time resolution is really set by the resolution (linearity, noise floor, etc.) of the amp. There is also integration occurring over multiple cycles so the pulse width can vary a little over time, further increasing temporal resolution.

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post #7 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ack-Shawn Bridges View Post
...for a 10 kHz frequency there would be 100 intervals per cycle, or just 25 for a quarter-wave.

If you're troubling yourself about that I can't imagine the nightmares CD must give you, with its 1 sample per half-wave.

Noah

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post #8 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
If you're troubling yourself about I can't imagine the nightmares CD must give you, with its 1 sample per half-wave.
But it's a 16-bit sample, so there's enough information there to reconstruct the wave.

DSD isn't a problem with its one-bit samples, as the sample rate of 2.8 MHz (or higher) is enough to keep sufficient resolution within the audible range.
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post #9 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
A fixed switching frequency suggests PWM (pulse width modulation). The pulse rate is constant, but the pulse width is proportional to the instantaneous signal voltage.
So the pulse width is not an integer multiple of of the switching frequency's interval?

If the pulse width is indeed continuously varying, that would explain how the amp (at least in theory) wouldn't have to sacrifice resolution of high frequencies within the audio range.
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post #10 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Oops, typo with the "of of" above. Does this forum have a way to edit one's own posts? I don't see any edit button or link.
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post #11 of 29 Old 02-18-2020, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
class D was originally mainly used for subs....they sounded like crap full range back in day. some models sound ok nowadays but not interested...I am curious what the answer to your post gets.
The ONLY place where Class D makes sense for full range is for ACTIVE sound reinforcement companies and their roadies where WEIGHT MATTERS.... but in your home/studio/theater where once installed that their chances of moving being close to zero... old school iron wins that hands down.

Being an audio engineer by profession, I have used a bunch of amps over the years and I still have not found a modern Class D that sounds BETTER than an old CREST or Crown Macrotech. I have put my CREST up against Class D amps the likes of QSC, NEW Crowns, Berry, Yamaha, etc.... CREST wins..... All Day... Remember, we are talking FULL RANGE.

Now, I have found ONE brand of Class D that is VERY CLOSE..... ATI...... BUT....their price makes the old iron very attractive.

So can GOOD Class D be done.... DEFINITELY.... but the price you pay is not worth it to some when you CAN find that same or better sound quality for less...


Juju

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How can class D amplifiers effectively resolve high frequencies?

I have ATI Class D NC522 amp; early on compared it to two Parasound A/B amps and could not tell any difference; unscientific test at home of course.
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post #13 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jujuman200 View Post
The ONLY place where Class D makes sense for full range is for ACTIVE sound reinforcement companies and their roadies where WEIGHT MATTERS.... but in your home/studio/theater where once installed that their chances of moving being close to zero... old school iron wins that hands down.

Being an audio engineer by profession, I have used a bunch of amps over the years and I still have not found a modern Class D that sounds BETTER than an old CREST or Crown Macrotech. I have put my CREST up against Class D amps the likes of QSC, NEW Crowns, Berry, Yamaha, etc.... CREST wins..... All Day... Remember, we are talking FULL RANGE.

Now, I have found ONE brand of Class D that is VERY CLOSE..... ATI...... BUT....their price makes the old iron very attractive.

So can GOOD Class D be done.... DEFINITELY.... but the price you pay is not worth it to some when you CAN find that same or better sound quality for less...


Juju


I wouldn’t expect mainstream vendors to lower their prices, and hence brand perception, dealer margins etc. regardless of underlying technology used. The market just isn’t big enough to support that kind of competitive pricing pressures from cheaper technology - that you would expect in other more mainstream markets like cell phones or even AVR’s.

Instead you will find newer upstart players without the brand recognition but want to get “into” the market, use lower prices to compete. Nord, Apollon, Audiophonics and a host of other vendors have amps built using the same Hypex NCore modules as ATI, but at much cheaper price points.

However as these players become more established, expect them to chase higher end products and their prices to rise, not fall. This is needed to remain sustainable in a “small” market. See Emotiva and more recently Nord’s higher end amps as examples
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post #14 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 07:53 AM
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However as these players become more established, expect them to chase higher end products and their prices to rise, not fall. This is needed to remain sustainable in a “small” market. See Emotiva and more recently Nord’s higher end amps as examples
I COMPLETELY AGREE with you as you have supported my point. As Class D gets better, the prices will rise and the prices of old iron will most likely stay the same or drop due to public perception of being an inferior technology so you will still be able to get excellent sound quality for less money.

Granted, not ALL old iron amps are created equal. Those that possess that excellent sound quality are a thing of beauty.....

For ME, the underlying tech of a great sounding amp is not something that I worry about and an amp doesn't need to weigh 5 pounds either.... my concern is how does it reproduce the music...


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Originally Posted by jujuman200 View Post
I COMPLETELY AGREE with you as you have supported my point. As Class D gets better, the prices will rise and the prices of old iron will most likely stay the same or drop due to public perception of being an inferior technology so you will still be able to get excellent sound quality for less money.

Juju

This will take a “very” long time to occur. There is simply NO incentive for established vendors to promote something that can be easily commoditized over big iron that is a differentiating factor for them. ATI using a linear power supply, causing their class D amps to weigh 40-65 lbs is an example of that.
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post #16 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
If you're troubling yourself about that I can't imagine the nightmares CD must give you, with its 1 sample per half-wave.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquis...mpling_theorem

(Doesn't cover that the samples are digital, though.)
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post #17 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 09:53 AM
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But it's a 16-bit sample, so there's enough information there to reconstruct the wave.

True enough.

Noah
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post #18 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
class D was originally mainly used for subs....they sounded like crap full range back in day. some models sound ok nowadays but not interested...I am curious what the answer to your post gets.

I just went from Consumer Amplification to pro audio amplification for my Home Theater. I purchased three new Crown (Harmon) Core XLS -2502 amplifiers which 450W stereo 8 ohm power up to 1500W bridged Mono depending on what application you need. Sound quality is amazing for music and HT. Features and build quality are outstanding. Extremely cool, light weight, quiet, fast, and crystal clear and non-colored. Exactly what I in an amplifier. Cost is $649 each but you can get a deal on these. Amazing performance for the money.
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post #19 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 03:49 PM
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How have the fine folks from the 2-channel forum not found this thread yet? If they do, there's going to be some "interesting" discussion.
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post #20 of 29 Old 02-19-2020, 08:35 PM
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How have the fine folks from the 2-channel forum not found this thread yet? If they do, there's going to be some "interesting" discussion.
Do you mean the folks who get audible differences from cheater cords?
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post #21 of 29 Old 02-20-2020, 04:22 AM
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Do you mean the folks who get audible differences from cheater cords?
No..I think he's talking about the folks that say all amplifiers sound the same....

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I just sold my ATI 6005 Signature Series 300 watts per channel to purchase this Legacy Amp at 600 Watts per channel.Its an Ice technology D class. I have a complete Legacy system and I wanted to try one of their matching amps. I just can't believe with Legacy's history and reputation that this thing will not be up to the task. The first batch sold out quicker than expected and I am waiting on the next shipment to arrive sometime first of March. I'm real excited. Watch the video at bottom, these things are impressive.


Legacy Audio’s new i·V 7 is the most powerful home theater amplifier to date.Featuring state of the art ICEedge® technology, the elegant seven channel amplifier approaches 80% efficiency while delivering 600 watts per channel into 8 ohms all seven channels driven.
Removing dynamic limitations while preserving detail is paramount to the listening experience -- home theater demands both high current (i) and high voltage (V) output.

Legacy Audio’s new i·V 7 is the most powerful home theater amplifier to date.

Featuring state of the art ICEedge® technology, the elegant seven channel amplifier approaches 80% efficiency while delivering 600 watts per channel into 8 ohms all seven channels driven. Such exceptional power is the product of very high current (i) and voltage (V) output capabilities providing stability into low impedances with a peak output current capability of 38A. The amplifier supports 12VDC triggered on/off and will also be available in a rack mount 8 channel version for Atmos® installations.

i·V 7 Features:

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Say goodbye to excessive heat and transformer hum. The crystal-clear sound is virtually noise-free and reliability is assured- after all, it’s a Legacy.

Power Utilization:

Music reproduction can demand high peak wattage requirements yet is still highly transient by nature. The iV7 amplifier boasts four very capable power supplies, each shared by two channels.

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While each channel output is identical in capability, it is logical to pair a higher demand front channel with a lower demand surround channel to maximize performance from a given power supply. Consult the user manual for suggested connection templates.


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post #23 of 29 Old 02-20-2020, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I just sold my ATI 6005 Signature Series 300 watts per channel to purchase this Legacy Amp at 600 Watts per channel.
You mean Legacy Audio is a real company selling real products?

I've seen their ads on the web, but when I went to their web site there was no price information. Then I had to hunt around to find out where to buy their products, and their dealers' web sites don't show prices either. I guess they're of the "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it" philosophy.

Anyway, how does the amp sound?
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post #24 of 29 Old 02-20-2020, 06:34 AM
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You mean Legacy Audio is a real company selling real products?

I've seen their ads on the web, but when I went to their web site there was no price information. Then I had to hunt around to find out where to buy their products, and their dealers' web sites don't show prices either. I guess they're of the "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it" philosophy.

Anyway, how does the amp sound?
Like I said in the post, they are on back order. If looking for Legacy products you simply have to call one of the showrooms. They are all listed on the main website. You must be young. Us old folk like to talk to one another! LOL. Seriously though, Give them a call. There is a dealer on this forum if anybody is interested. Markley Home Entertainment in Lancaster Pa. You can private message him here @ DMark1 or call 859 356 6994 .
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Originally Posted by jujuman200 View Post
Now, I have found ONE brand of Class D that is VERY CLOSE..... ATI...... BUT....their price makes the old iron very attractive.

So can GOOD Class D be done.... DEFINITELY.... but the price you pay is not worth it to some when you CAN find that same or better sound quality for less...
Here ya go:

https://www.d-sonic.com/


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Looks like a good find..... BUT you just PROVED my point.... An old school amp of the same specs is less than HALF those prices. I'm NOT saying that Class D is not awesome.... I'm saying that you can get the same or better SQ for less. And if you are not constantly moving the amp from place to place, then it's weight doesn't matter either....


I like Class D "when" it's cost effective.....



Juju

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Originally Posted by jujuman200 View Post
Looks like a good find..... BUT you just PROVED my point.... An old school amp of the same specs is less than HALF those prices. I'm NOT saying that Class D is not awesome.... I'm saying that you can get the same or better SQ for less. And if you are not constantly moving the amp from place to place, then it's weight doesn't matter either....

I like Class D "when" it's cost effective.....
Not trying to prove or disprove your point, just offering you another alternative to ATI....and one that will compete with your other selections.

You seem to be altering your standards though.....you went from old iron wins hands down to Class D is awesome...and the other advantages of course - weight being one of them, sure maybe doesn't matter that much until the shelf you sit your 100lb amp. on begins to sag. But you're right, probably not moving that thing around too much once it's in place.

Power efficiency - You sound like you are price-conscious, so I'd think you'd be factoring in power efficiency over the long haul. Maybe that pays off, maybe it doesn't over time? Dunno, assuming by old iron you mean class A...I can do without a space heater on my PG&E bill...

If you want less expensive but still great quality, here's another one for you:

https://www.classdaudio.com/

Not sure what price points you want to work with here....but I for one believe class D can be quite cost effective while delivering excellent quality.

You've also got placement advantages with less heat radiation and often a smaller footprint / profile - flexibility.

You said, "The ONLY place where Class D makes sense for full range is for ACTIVE sound reinforcement companies and their roadies where WEIGHT MATTERS...." - common, you gotta admit, that's just a bit silly.
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post #28 of 29 Old 02-20-2020, 08:13 PM
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How can class D amplifiers effectively resolve high frequencies?

I have class D amp from ATI.. NC522 driving Revel F206s with no issue.

Coming from A21 & another Parasound amp; no regrets & not looking back. Great sound, runs cool & easy on the electric usage. No turning back & 7 year transferable warranty to boot + built in USA!!
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Primary set-up 5.2.4; Yamaha A2050, Paired w/Parasound P5 & ATI 522NC 2 channel amp
Revel F206 fronts & Revel M16 rears; 2 Outlaw X12 Subs & 4 RSL C34e in-ceilings

Secondary 5.1: Denon S900W, Polk LSiM703/704C, Polk RC80i in-ceiling rears, RSL Speedwoofer 10s
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post #29 of 29 Old 02-20-2020, 10:53 PM
_tk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOKNROX View Post
No..I think he's talking about the folks that say all amplifiers sound the same....

Yep, that's them.
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