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I would like to see comments as to whether regulars on the forum think that digital amps will become as much a "commodity" as DVD players are now and CD players were/are. In other words continous lowering of prices. Here is a web site I picked up off of the Secrets web are. It seems to me that within three to four years that analog amps may be very rare. Comments?

http://www.d2audio.com/main.php?hasflash=ok
 

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No doubt about..

Digital amplifiers today dominate the DVD/Amp combo units up to about 30W/Ch. Also very common in the higher grade OEM car audio systems as well. But now the average power is increasing significantly due to better designs made possible by the better/improved semiconductors like DSPs, SRCs, and Mos-Fets.


D2Audio had a very impressive display @ the CEDIA Show as well.
 

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Sony, Panasonic, & Sharp have already jumped on the bandwagon. It's only a matter of time until the other major manufacturers follow. The parts cost in a digital amp is significantly less than a standard analog design (so it makes sense for the large manufacturers to push this tech).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg_R
The parts cost in a digital amp is significantly less than a standard analog design (so it makes sense for the large manufacturers to push this tech).
Not totally true...

In recent times many of the key component suppliers for the analog amplifiers have reduced their pricing due to the digital amplifiers especially for power levels of 80W then the digital amplifier starts to becomes very cost-competitive as larger heat sinks get expensive. However SMPS switching power supplies (required for digital amplifiers) can be more expensive than a linear power supply, final circuit cost really depends upon the amount of regulation and switching frequency complexity.
 

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A couple interesting things could evolve fairly quickly from this. The first step could be a move back to separates with a standalone digital amp that simply has one input for an optical digital cable. The digital output on your existing pre/pro receiver goes straight into the amp – meaning there is no ADC or even analog inputs on the amp.


The longer-term evolution would be toward speaker manufacturers including individual amps inside each speaker. This ensures the signal isn’t muddied by bad wire.


As the prices drop for digital amps, size shrinks further, and efficiency increases somebody will eventually put individual digital amps on each driver. There will be only one digital cable input on the back of the speaker. That way the speaker manufacturer can precisely control the power output and frequency range that is delivered to each driver. They are no longer affected by upstream components.


Then the data flow is very elegant. The data comes off the CD/DVD/SACD. The pre/pro divides the signal to respective speakers. The speaker then divides its signal to individual drivers inside the speaker. The driver has its own amp that decodes the signal. Pure digital path.


To go one last step, each speaker will receive its signal not by wire but by a 5.8 Ghz wireless encrypted signal from the pre/pro based on its unique ID. Speakers can be arranged anywhere in your house near a power outlet.


Of course, this will eliminate a number of cottage industries that aren’t very interested in going out of business. Custom wires and interconnects. Processors. Power stabilizers. Mods. Magazine publishers, Etc. But companies like Panasonic and Sharp don’t care about that. And that’s why they’ll end up leading in the next generation. They ain’t got nothing to lose.
 

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Don't forget that "high end" digital amplifier solutions exist from Bel Canto and Audio Research (Tripath) and Tact Audio (Equibit/TI).


SOmeone commented on efficiencies of digital amps -- they aren't going to get much higher than they are already. As an example, the Tripath amp topology is about 93% efficient.


Regards,
 

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Quote:
Then the data flow is very elegant. The data comes off the CD/DVD/SACD. The pre/pro divides the signal to respective speakers. The speaker then divides its signal to individual drivers inside the speaker. The driver has its own amp that decodes the signal. Pure digital path.
Sounds like Meridian Audio Systems. Check them out HERE
 

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David,


Yes and no. The Meridian DSP speakers don't have digital amplifiers in them, they have traditional class A/B amplifiers.


The DSP speaker architecture is:


DSP for / room correction / boundary compensation and crossover

D/A convertor for each driver

Amplifier channel for each driver


Please note that the volume control is Digital until resolution on 24-bit would be sacrificed, at which point it is analog. The same volume control topology is used for analog outputs of 861 and 598.


Regards,
 
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