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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

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Old 14th May 2012, 11:37 PM   #1
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Lightbulb is there such a thing as a "best" opamp for audio?

hi guys, I've heard my good share of stable and oscillating opamps, discrete output stages etc etc...and I'll always remember a very knowledgeable audio engineer who once told me that there was no point in using anything else than 5532's because every record had literally gone through thousands of them, and that going up the food chain would only unveil distortion and noise that the original audio engineers completely overlooked.

I have to admit that as stunning as a stable AD797B can sound, it truly takes greatly mastered music to make it enjoyable.......anything low-fi/mid-fi will soon harsh, poorly mixed, distorting...and I've recently heard an AK4396 DAC that's running off batteries via a stunningly transparent discrete output stage: well, 90% of my music sounds like ####.

So what do you technically savyy guys think? Is there any point in always seeking the highest SQ when the music that's being commercially released is mostly of sub-par quality? It would be like using a 10bit display when everything is being mastered in 6bit or something
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Old 15th May 2012, 02:36 AM   #2
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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head-fi DIY subforum "The Opamp thread" (subjective, rolling) too slow moving for you??
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Old 15th May 2012, 02:57 AM   #3
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well, blind rolling is a terrible idea really: Upgrading Op Amps in Audio Equipment - Precision Amplifier Wiki - Precision Amplifiers - E2E
Quote:
There is no one “best audio op amp.”
I think OPA2132 and OPA627 have gotten so famous because they don't magnify defects...and as the aforementioned link confirms, you will never get AD797 and LT1028 to behave properly when rolled blindly. These two chips need a EE degree to function as expected.
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Old 15th May 2012, 03:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
These two chips need a EE degree to function as expected.
Hope it's joke ! really,,,,,,,,,
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Old 15th May 2012, 05:01 AM   #5
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
hi guys, I've heard my good share of stable and oscillating opamps, discrete output stages etc etc...and I'll always remember a very knowledgeable audio engineer who once told me that there was no point in using anything else than 5532's because every record had literally gone through thousands of them, and that going up the food chain would only unveil distortion and noise that the original audio engineers completely overlooked.

I have to admit that as stunning as a stable AD797B can sound, it truly takes greatly mastered music to make it enjoyable.......anything low-fi/mid-fi will soon harsh, poorly mixed, distorting...and I've recently heard an AK4396 DAC that's running off batteries via a stunningly transparent discrete output stage: well, 90% of my music sounds like ####.

So what do you technically savyy guys think? Is there any point in always seeking the highest SQ when the music that's being commercially released is mostly of sub-par quality? It would be like using a 10bit display when everything is being mastered in 6bit or something
That argument doesn't make any sense at all, to me. That's saying that "since its quality has already been degraded then it's OK to degrade it some more, and that will make it sound better". (But, just as obviously, a well-designed and implemented 5532 circuit probably won't inflict a whole lot of degradation, anyway.)

If you implement ANY type of audio amplifier to be as accurate as possible in its reproduction of the input signal, it cannot be worse than if you implemented an amplifier with less-accurate reproduction. (Notice that I said "cannot be worse", not "cannot sound worse".)

However, my only goal is the most-accurate reproduction, whether it "sounds worse" to me or not. Literally.

I don't understand why anyone would ever place a higher priority on "sounds better" than they do on "is more accurate". Well, maybe that's inaccurately stated. I think that I understand why some people would do that but I completely disagree with their way of thinking.

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. If the AD797B was distorting, it wasn't because it was doing too good of a job. Something was designed or implemented poorly or something else was wrong. Also note that batteries are not a perfect DC power supply, or even the best DC power supply.

Last edited by gootee; 15th May 2012 at 05:16 AM.
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Old 15th May 2012, 10:49 AM   #6
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Well, apparently LiFePO4 batteries are as good as it gets for audio?

When I said that AD797B was distorting, I was referring to tiny amounts of distortion in the original recording that became even more apparent than when using less clear sounding opamps. The clearer the SQ, the more unforgiving it gets.

That's the whole idea....that amazingly clear sounding DAC I just mentioned was eye popping on high quality recordings but anything that was not perfect was literally unlistenable. That's the point of that audio engineer, I didn't believe him at the time.....but the more it goes the more I realize that there is little point in shooting for something clearer sounding than say OPA132 and OPA627 because in most cases you'll be digging for noise and distortion considering that every recording went through an army of 5532's or 4580's anyway.

Saying that 5532's don't degrade the SQ couldn't be further from the truth, as this chip sounds very colored and I believe most everyone realizes that here on diyaudio.

Here's a good comparison, the loopback version that went through 5532's and 2114's sounds dull and colored(oops, the file were deleted due to inactivity): So who can ABX this recording, from the source?
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