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Old 1st January 2016, 03:54 AM   #1
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Default Anecdotally: Tripath Vs TPA3116

As per the title I found this long thread at audiokarma:

TPA 3116 vs the tripaths | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums

which taken as a whole composite of users/builders there that assembled and used the TPA3116 based amplifiers by a large and unequivocal margin, much preferred it to any of the Tripath based amplifiers.

Not being able to listen to any of these in person I resort to youtube. I use my AudioTechnica hp direct from computer, and depending on quality of the videos in question can make out the more salient characteristics of gear demo'ed. Now, barring different 'associated equipment', rooms, video mics, music choice, etc
I wonder if you find the TPA3116 amp video here displaying superior sonics to the one after that (which is a much older t-amp SMSL using TA2020):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzbXTAkuKPI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVEMLdru7lo

In what ways are the former (TPA3116) superior to the latter t-amp? Personally I found it etched, cold, clinical, more like a Rotel or Roksan SS amp, while the t-amp sounded more round, supple, triode and tube-like.

Maybe it's just me....
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Old 1st January 2016, 12:07 PM   #2
DUG is offline DUG  Canada
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I found 3116 controlled the low end with force (Oh Yeah) and provided fine detail in the top end. (beginning of Xanadu)

Mids anything can do.

But maybe that is just me.

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Old 1st January 2016, 02:26 PM   #3
xrk971 is online now xrk971  United States
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Trust us, we have been there and the 3116 is better sounding. It's newer technology. The T amps are not even made any more and supplies are based on remaining inventory. The highs are very clear and the overall sound is neutral. A good amp ahould sound like nothing at all - a piece of wire.

They are cheap enough to buy both and listen for yourself. Implementation of 3116 is important as later YJ Blues have seemed to gone downhill. Try Ybdz or SMAKN. $15. Or SMSL 3118 boxed and well built for $55.
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Old 1st January 2016, 04:09 PM   #4
den_hr is offline den_hr  Croatia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SufferingArtist View Post

Not being able to listen to any of these in person I resort to youtube.

....

Personally I found it etched, cold, clinical, more like a Rotel or Roksan SS amp, while the t-amp sounded more round, supple, triode and tube-like.
Judging *real* sound from real audio equipment based on youtube videos is an exercise in futility, regardless of the equipment used to record sound in those videos... No conclusions can be drawn from such "evidence"...
It's like judging gourmet food based on what somebody else tells you it tastes like...

You should really try both and compare for yourself, in "real life", if you really want to know how both amps sound...

And, btw, I've used and listened to both. I have a Tripath-based T-amp (the original one, heavily modded and "improved"), and have tried several TPA3116 amps, from the original "red" YJ 2.0 board, to the latest "dual chip" one... and several iterations/models in between.
In general, I prefer tpa3116.
So, there
And, another thing: if you listen to *real* tpa3116 and still find it lacking and "cold" (which I can understand, btw), you might try the TDA2979 - see "What the heck? It's less than lunch" thread in Chip Amps forum. That one is a little "warmer", and with certain music I sometimes prefer it to tpa3116...
That one (TDA2797) gives me goosebumps every time I listen to Dire Straits "Water of Love" - on my equipment and speakers....
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Old 1st January 2016, 05:36 PM   #5
xrk971 is online now xrk971  United States
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+1 on lunch money amp. I must have ten of these - they sound very good stock. No kidding.

Online Shop AC/DC12V TDA7297 Rev A Low Noise Audio Amplifier Board 2*15W Dual-Channel Digital Stereo free shipping|Aliexpress Mobile
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Old 2nd January 2016, 06:09 AM   #6
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Listen
did any of you go and listen to the 2 examples I posted? Please do so, preferably over kinda fairly 'neutral' headphones, eh

Seems like I missed the Tripath boat; all we got now are CHIpath chips? The hifimediy TK2050 thread from a few years ago at this forum looked hopeful. Ah Chipath. . .
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Old 2nd January 2016, 07:35 AM   #7
den_hr is offline den_hr  Croatia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SufferingArtist View Post
Listen
did any of you go and listen to the 2 examples I posted? Please do so, preferably over kinda fairly 'neutral' headphones, eh
As I said in my previous post, making judgements on the sound quality of a hifi gear based SOLELY on their youtube recordings if utterly futile.

Those two youtube samples weren't even recorded by the same person, which means they were recorded using different equipment (microphones, etc.) - so there is really no point in "comparing" them - you are comparing apples and oranges (based on dubious representation, at best)...

First, you don't know which microphones and which recording equipment was used to record the sound of those two systems in those two videos.

Second, to have even a most general idea of the actual sound, the sound should have been recorded in high quality (no compression) - and even if they were, I'm not sure that youtube doesn't compress (or process) the video sound in any way.
This way you might be comparing the sound of ultra high-end hi-fi gear using low-quality mp3 (128 kbps) recordings of their sound. Kind of pointless, wouldn't you say?

Third, you'll be listening to those videos using a computer (or a tablet, whatever), with a dubious quality sound card (sound chip).

Using better quality headphones doesn't change anything of the above points.

I repeat, again: you cannot judge the sound quality based on random youtube videos - and even if you wanted to, the basic requirement for any kind of comparison would be for those two videos to be recorded by the same person using the same sound recording equipment in the same room - which isn't the case, so any "comparison" is pointless.

On the other hand, if you want opinions on those two amplifier types (Tripath and TPA3116), you've got some feedback from the forum members - purely subjective opinions, I'll admit.
But, those opinions are from the people who've had ample experience listening (and owning) both types of amplifiers, and who had done extensive listening tests of both types of amplifiers, and who can make direct comparisons - i.e. the amp "listening tests" were done using the same music source, and the same speakers, cables, etc.

Even being "subjective", I'd say that our (xrk and myself) informed, although subjective, comparisons and opinions are worth a lot more than random recordings of random youtube videos - if nothing else, we did a DIRECT comparison.

On the other hand, I also want to mention that not all Tripath and TPA- based amps are the same. Even the amps which use the same chip (e.g. TPA3116D2) do not sound the same - some are better, and some are just so-so... Same goes for Tripath amps.
So, that's one more unknown variable - exactly WHICH Tripath and and exactly WHICH TPA3116D2 amp do you want to compare?

Denis
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Old 2nd January 2016, 09:42 AM   #8
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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Nice anecdote
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Old 4th January 2016, 03:29 AM   #9
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Youtubing auditions parallel going to commercial hifi showrooms and trying to discern differences from differently hooked up gear. Ideally you want to isolate only one thing and try it out with your own, then compare to item b. Often we cannot do this.

From the opinions I gathered here and at audiokarma, and from my youtube auditioning I can tell what people like about the TPA3116. It seems very similar to traits audiophiles liked in the ancient Pioneer A400 int amp of the '80s -

But in general I didn't like the A400, and can admire that suite of strengths yet they dont speak to my condition.

It seems to me - online at least - the ones that went gaga over t-amp chips a few years ago, some liking them over tubed gear costing many times over, now gaga over TPA3116 or some other Texas Instrument chip, and recanting whatever they wrote about T-amps. I find that funny.
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Old 4th January 2016, 03:44 AM   #10
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Using neutral headphones will not increase the accuracy of the comparison because the two videos were recorded using different setups so comparison is not viable to begin with, we dont learn anything whatsoever from this comparison. From what I gather most people like tpa3116 over tripaths because they fixed some of the issues that tripaths often had, like low power, low bass definition, treble accuracy, etc.

Last edited by PersianBeast; 4th January 2016 at 03:52 AM.
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