Bump for a great question from Seadogs1. Anyone?
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I have heard the H2O Sig250, the NuForce 8Bs, the NuForce 9.02s and an as yet unnamed unit from Analog Research-Technology. To my ears in my system (and to be fair, at different times) they all sounded different.
I went with the 9.02s.
I don't listen very loud - peaks max out at about 85db mostly, and even that seems loud. I hope to keep as much of my hearing as I can.
With all of that, let me say that the 9.02s sound closer to LIVE than anything I've had in my system. YMMV. After 3 weeks of listening, I put my tube amp (ARC VT100MK II with some tube rolling) back in, and the game was over. Sold it.
One particular track comes to mind... on the NuForce there were HUGE drum hits with heft and dimension. On the ARC (A great tube amp, IMHO) I got only twack, thwack, thwack. It was QUITE a difference. Even hard to believe.
I get a better sense of the musicians playing together. To me, The NuForce is more expressive than my last amp.
A friend of mine had the same experience with his H2O sig. Same ARC amp - SOLD! And HIS friend, an inveterate tube roller, also now runs with H2O.
The Analog Research-technology amp was a much lower priced model but it sounded good too.
I wonder what the energy companies will say if someone invents a suitcase-sized energy source for your home? Challenge the status quo and you generate some anxiety responses from those who fear change/have something to lose or hold on to their beliefs very tightly. Time to unclench!
Class D is such a paradigm shift - you really do need an open mind, especially if you look into the box and see the tiny amp module.
But, this hobby should be about fun, about discovery, of great music and performances. For me, the discovery of Class D took me to a place I didn't think I could reach.