So just how "good" can a chip amp be ? - diyAudio
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Old 18th March 2010, 07:52 AM   #1
Mooly is online now Mooly  United Kingdom
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Default So just how "good" can a chip amp be ?

Let me say first off that I haven't used a monolithic power chip for any serious audio work ever... it's always always been discrete.

So an easy question... could you realistically compare (sonically I mean... not on paper specs) a chip amp with any discrete amp that is considered a top performer in it's class.

If you could do a double blind/triple blind/whatever listening test and you didn't know what you were listening to... could the chip amp come out on top ? ... if the design was right.

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Old 18th March 2010, 12:08 PM   #2
sangram is offline sangram  India
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Candidates;

1. Self-built Chipamp with maxed out components - Black Gates, Holcos, huge transformer vs.

2. Jaton Operetta, a PA-100 design base with a stonking 2KVA transformer vs.

3 Self-built F5 clone with the standard Tech-DIY kit, open chassis, 150 VA transformers - not a single exotic part anywhere.

Speakers: Usher Mini-Dancer Beryllium, source: Buffalo DAC and PC transport.

The F5 simply stomped the other two into the dust. Make no mistake, the chipamps are very good, much better than commercial amps and receivers under $1000 (The operetta is a very good amp in its right). But they were simply no match for the F5 across the board - even though on paper they probably had better specs. The only thing the F5 didn't do was gain, so on some really high-quality recordings you could not really hear anything at all. Probably more sensitive speakers are called for.

Anyway the F5 had a sweeter, more dynamic sound, and developed a very solid bottom end. We also had a chance to test out the $3000 Leben CS300 tube amp, and it had better midrange than the F5, but got beaten everywhere else.
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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This is a pretty crazy question Mooly, 'can a chip amp objectively have a subjectively better sound?'. That is what you're asking isn't it?

Chip amps can have measurably better performance than discrete amps and for the large part they do, the best ones anyway.

That's all she wrote...

w
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:22 PM   #4
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Sangram, thanks for that very comprehensive sonic report. Perhaps, you should also tell us something about the power chords, interconnects and speaker cables.
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:23 PM   #5
Mooly is online now Mooly  United Kingdom
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Thanks for your comparisons... that's just the kind of info I'm after. I don't think Nelson will getting worried then


I quite fancy seeing just what can be done with TDA7293, possibly in two's or three's for driving lowish impedance loads.

As I say, I've never built or listened to a chip amp.
Thanks
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
This is a pretty crazy question Mooly, 'can a chip amp objectively have a subjectively better sound?'. That is what you're asking isn't it?
That is the question yes

So can it... if it's applied with a view to "out and out" sonics rather than best on paper spec ?
Be interesting to find out perhaps.
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Old 18th March 2010, 02:38 PM   #7
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Default Competes well

My proprietary high gain 3886 chip amp competes (according to many others who have listened) well at the $3000 level for a stereo amp. Has 225dB gain at DC and 125dB gain at 10kHz. Vanishingly small distortion. Also features a second order DC servo loop and absolute stability with no output coil or RC network to make it safe or stable. Will drive any load with the correct power supply. Have used them below one ohm on low voltage power supply and worked flawlessly.
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Old 18th March 2010, 03:19 PM   #8
ratza is offline ratza  Romania
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I really REALLY doubt that you have that gain. Perhaps it was 22.5 and 12.5?
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Old 18th March 2010, 03:24 PM   #9
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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I think he meant open loop gain.
But at 10kHz that would imply about 100dB of feedback.
How does he make it stable with that much feedback?
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Old 18th March 2010, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
As I say, I've never built or listened to a chip amp.


Stunning claim. Never even listened to a boombox?
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