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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

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Old 12th January 2010, 04:02 AM   #41
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
If I could perhaps turn this discussion around slightly, yes I kind of agree with Tom that given a perfect world and perfect electronic design and execution - all of the amplifier topologies would probably sound the same.

However, the current status of play is that that to my ears at least there appears to be some sonic differences between Class D vs. Chip amps. I have owned or have in my possession a dozen or so Class D and chip amps, and to answer the original posters question my anecdotal conclusions of the sound differences would be:

a) Class D ~ is airy, detailed, fast, extended treble with good bass, but a little laid back in the midrange (doesn't quite light up the mids like valves). Digital amps can run out of steam at extreme head banging levels, the power outputs quoted are a bit fudged up IMO. For example an ICE250 or ICE500 module supposedly @ 250w/ch & 500w/ch doesn't have as much drive as a Krell KSA100 or for that matter even a KSA50 (this is from owning Krells and ICE/Tripath/Bel Canto/Nuforce/Panasonic Equibit digital amps).

b) Chip Amps ~ are detailed and fast sounding too, they have a clarity and grip in the midrange that is superior to Class D to my ears, bass is nice tonally but IMO, only just adequate, they are not amplifiers for playing at high volumes or into low impedence spkrs where they have a tendency to lose control and sound mushy (this from owning various chip amps including LM3876/3875/4870).

Of course all dependent on your own implementation of Class D or Chips and all system dependent ...

Regards,

Steve M.
Hi Steve,

Your last statement is probably the key, and actually negates using experiences with any particular amps, and even with multiple amps, to generalize (as if that needs more negating). However, even so, it still might be (and probably is) the case that certain types have certain sounds, typically. Then again, "typical" is often not so great. I guess it might be two completely different discussions and conclusions, depending on whether typical implementations were compared or best-possible implementations were compared. I guess I'll just concede that typical implementations probably do have flaws in common, for each type of amplifier. So it might be more interesting to discuss possible differences between best-possible implementations. But I think that's been more-or-less covered, too, and is probably not really answerable, here, in a practical sense, anyway. So back to typical designs and implementations. Maybe someone else will be inspired to try to do better, if typical shortcomings are exposed.

In my opinion, most of the chipamp designs that we see here are far too simple, for example. Many people see that as a virtue. But I'd probably rather see something like multiple "redundant" paralleled chipamps, for huge excess current-dumping capability (for when your bass driver goes down to way-low "out of spec" impedances, which many or most of them do), all wrapped inside the well-compensated feedback loop of a killer opamp, with the chipamps basically just acting as a power-booster stage. (A Hawksford Error-Correction topology also looks very promising, wrapped around the chipamps, at least in my simulations.)

At any rate, with enough paralleled chipamps in a well-designed configuration, any bass driver could be blown into flaming bits in a few milliseconds or so. So I think that any lack of bass that you heard with any particular chipamp designs was simply a shortcoming of those designs, or, their designs were not a good match for your speakers. So we're back to your last statement, again. <smile>

Your descriptions did get me thinking that maybe we should just say "screw it" and tri-amp everything, with whatever amp type does each range the best (for the particular type of driver being used) when using the easiest, cheapest most-typical design of its type. They could be made even better, then, probably, too, since they could be optimized for a narrower frequency range. (It's not A.D.D.! It's "Agile Focus"! <grin>)

Sorry if I'm not making much sense, tonight. It's been a long, difficult day.

Tom
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Old 12th January 2010, 04:40 AM   #42
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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Originally Posted by Ltralus View Post
They may very likely hate your musak, but if you reserve the questions to the system itself, and even tried your musak on their system and vice versa, you may find if you're honest, it is you who ends up humbled, and they do have ears.

Their systems are likely as purpose built as your own, with an exacting intent of what will get played on it and how it will be played. In practice that is alright as long as expectations for it are never exceeded. In practice that's never really the case either because "truths of perception" are fleeting, so such a system is a designed let-down for everything other than its given intent.

Personal taste should not be mistaken for "truth". Truth needn't be redefined to fit our personal perceptions for if that's the case, then it by default is not truth. How could we possibly enjoy music as a group if that were the case? How could it unite rather than divide? Clearly there is truth to music well beyond the personal taste of our fleeting perceptions, but it doesn't serve industry to think so. If you perceived your date as beautiful but only after half a case of beer, will your perception at the time hold as truth by morning? Would the baby produced be as beautiful as the night before or the morning after? Only to the mother?

Look at metallica's last album, nobody would fault that crowd with an audiophile amongst them, and yet there was a petition with some 30k signatures going around to have it remastered. They consider it unlistenable given the level of hard clipped distortion it has. This is clearly a case with preferences and perceptions at odds.
I don't necessarily agree with every bit of that, but... Very interesting. And nice writing. Rather beautiful, actually!

Last edited by gootee; 12th January 2010 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 17th January 2010, 08:33 PM   #43
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I have owned two amps that I beleive are based on Class D circuitry. I am a noob, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Just say "hey noob, stfu". The first was an Innersound 300 II. The only amplifier that I have experienced with more power was the Krell FPB 400. It also sounded very nice.

I currently own (and love) a Krell 400xi integrated. I use it to drive a pair of B&W 802s. It is not as powerful as some of the other amps I've had, but it packs more punch than you would expect based on its size. I've had this amp for a few years now and have no intention of changing it out.

I am currently entertaining building a chip amp to try in my second system. I want to replace a Sansui AU719, which is driving a pair of ADS Sat7s. I do somewhat doubt that the chip amp will outperform my Sansui, especially if the $200 is used to build the chip amp was invested into reconditioning the Sansui. But I am up for trying something new. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 18th January 2010, 01:17 AM   #44
a.wayne is offline a.wayne  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face View Post
I own a few Class A, A/B, and chip amps. I recently picked up a Wyred 4 Sound ST500 and believe someone finally got Class D right.
Could you please give us an Idea of what it's being compared to and on what ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcibeL View Post
Yet another discussion of Class A/B versus Class D. I really wish everyone would stop trying to compare things so generally. It only produces ignorance and misinformation.

The result here is that someone will say this class of amp is better because I listened to this amp and this other class of amp at this one was better. The assumption being made is that it was better because it was a different class of amp, which usually has little to do with the verdict.

I've compared my own DIY Mauro Penasa "My_Ref" to my own DIY Hypex amp, all other things equal, I prefer the Hypex. Do you think it's because of the class? I sure don't.
It appears the discussion should be in absolute terms then ..

Class A
Class A/B
Class D
Chip amps
Tubes

Which one?

As always there is no reference and stating the obvious that it will be system and user dependant tells us nothing. A lot of DIY ers from observation and IMHO really don't have a proper playback system for proper evaluation , nor do they have a constant reference , instead choosing to jump from one project to the next .

Comments on anything being made here , pre-amp , amp etc , should always be followed by the users setup , if not how can anyone tell or follow along , anyone commenting about a new class D sounds better than my Krell means nothing unless the rest of us can get a reference .


Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post
I completely agree, execution is just as important as topology, but when we are relying on integrated circuits we don't have control over the internal execution. New technologies take some understanding. I have only heard class D that sounded edgy, and only heard chip-amps that sounded "limited". I have heard both superb and horrid Class A, and AB. I need to build some amps.

Example, Op-Amps took a bad beating in preamps. Crown IC-150, Apt Holman. Horrible sounding. Well, they had 741's in them. Now that new National chip will give most anything a run for it's money. At that time, op-amps were bad. Both technologies under question here are still on the rise.
Funny you should mention this . My regular pre-amp is being modded and i have since moved my vintage crown stuff forward , front and center .

Must say , the IC150 is a pretty good backup, the flexability and build is astounding , the sound is pretty good , not top tier , but pretty good not bad for an old op-amp ..


Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltedhalo View Post
Oh ROTFLMAO, audiophiles are a slowly dieing bread. People come over to my house and look at my huge Infinity BETA's and racks of equipment and ask my wife how she stands all that "crap".
And yes I totally agree I do not want to close my eyes to perfection in reproduction, but how do you open others?
It started with advertising, louder sells, then radio, more compression more volume more attention. Quality has gone out the window for who can make the loudest CD, because that's what the masses expect.
What happened to creativity, and talent?? in this day and age of sampled, digitized, sound when anybody with a computer can make "music" .......
I think it all comes down to schools, we have leveled the playing field for students, stifled creativity, and all but removed most art programs. With no reason to excel students wont.
How do you create Mozart's, and Einstein's when everybody is "joe". No reward no gain.
In our quest not to alienate anyone we have stifled creativity, and neutered our education system.
Yes the dumbing down is in full tilt , the owners must be proud .. Keep playing , they will hear the difference , it takes about 10 yrs to soak in ..

Last edited by a.wayne; 18th January 2010 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 18th January 2010, 01:40 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
Could you please give us an Idea of what it's being compared to and on what ?



It appears the discussion should be in absolute terms then ..

Class A
Class A/B
Class D
Chip amps
Tubes

Which one?

I believe that one could state the differences (controlling for other factors like speakers) between these technologies. It would be ignorant to think that there are no differences, ALL OTHER THINGS EQUAL, among these circuits. Our systems are composed of elements (speakers, amps, preamps, etc.), which are composed of microelements (capacitors, resistors, transistors, etc). If one buys into reductionism, we should be able to understand the influence of the microelements on the target varialbe (good soundingness, warmth, dynamic range, etc.). Circuit topography and design philosophy is included in this.

Thus, I think it is 100% appropriate to ask whether Class D or Class A is warmer (or whatever). I don't think that anyone would argue that this is the only important factor. Did you interpret this thread as implying that speakers, sources, listener preferences aren't also important? Just because the distributions (along the target variables) of Class D and Class A amplifiers partially overlap does not mean that their central tendencies are the same.



As always there is no reference and stating the obvious that it will be system and user dependant tells us nothing. A lot of DIY ers from observation and IMHO really don't have a proper playback system for proper evaluation , nor do they have a constant reference , instead choosing to jump from one project to the next .


Comments on anything being made here , pre-amp , amp etc , should always be followed by the users setup , if not how can anyone tell or follow along , saying this new class D sounds better than my Krell means nothing unless the rest of us can get a reference .







Funny you should mention this . My regular pre-amp is being modded and i have since moved my vintage crown stuff forward , front and center .

Must say , the IC150 is a pretty good backup, the flexability and build is astounding , the sound is pretty good , not top tier , but pretty good not bad for an old op-amp ..




Yes the dumbing down is in full tilt , the owners must be proud .. Keep playing , they will hear the difference , it takes about 10 yrs to soak in ..
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Old 18th January 2010, 07:31 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimwit View Post
. . .
I am currently entertaining building a chip amp to try in my second system. I want to replace a Sansui AU719, which is driving a pair of ADS Sat7s. I do somewhat doubt that the chip amp will outperform my Sansui, especially if the $200 is used to build the chip amp was invested into reconditioning the Sansui. But I am up for trying something new. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Decibel Dungeon link> Gainclone chip amp index page All of the inverting amplifiers provide a more laid back sound than the typical chipamp. The regulated power version will, as usual, have a clear, tight bass, which is what you may be looking for. Given the external power supply, the power caps at the amplifier pins may be reduced to 330uF for a different and perhaps clearer sound. See all of the footnotes.
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Old 21st April 2010, 04:38 AM   #47
a.wayne is offline a.wayne  United States
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Has anyone else tried the wyred 4 sound class D amplifiers ?
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