Nope...I find them dry and Clinical...they are the antithesis of the sweetness of SETs
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You'll find responses across the board not only for Class D but all amplifier topologies.
An amplifier's peformance is largely a function of the speaker paired with it.
Use the answers you read here as a guideline but certainly listen for yourself before investing in any amplifier or speaker for that matter.
I have had the Nuforce ref9, Trends, PS Audio Treo, Flying Mole, but my favorite so far is the Winsome Mouse. Part of the reason lies in Audiofeil's reasoning. I have it matched with a pair of Silverline Minuets. They like each other very much. The sound is neither dry nor sweet. It has nice detail without harshness. Nothing sticks out, just the music. The implementation of the designer has a great effect on the sound. I think Class D amps are the future of audio amplification. IMHO
Gvickerschtick, Like amps of all other types, class D amps vary in performance, tembral signature, and price. . . it is difficult to make a broad-stroke statement on how class D sounds any longer. One common trait is that they take a very long time to break in, and before complete break in at about 1000 hours of music making, they can sound rather dry. . . or at least rather odd. Audiophiles who seek a modicum of tube bloom have successfully paired class D amps with tube linestages and front ends. As I prefer a more neutrally approach to musical sound, I have recently gone completely SS with a JRDG 312 and a JRDG Capri linestage and couldn't be happier. . . . well, until the next upgrade. . . you understand (grins!)
Seems to me also that like with most other technologies, power cords, ICs, and power conditioning may have a significant effect.
The bottomline answer is that class D can 'sound' in many different ways, including 'sweet', provided the software and the rest of the system make it so.
Not all Class D amps are created the same just like SET or A/B SS amps or tube amps.
Spectron designs its own IECs and chooses parts that give it a very 'musical' sonic signature all things being equal.
Bel Canton uses modified B&O IECs and their sonic signature is a bit warmer than the Spectron or many SS amps...all things being equal again.
I agree with the other posters on cables and espcially the preamp. I use a Spectron with a tube preamp and it is anything but clinical, dry or bright.
hey guidocorona. yeah, the question is quite broad, but i was wondering if a class d amp had an inherent sound, regardless of design. like how tube designs, to me, are musically warped or colored in a sweet way. i've just heard repeated comments as to the sweet/smooth top end of class d designs.
thanks everyone for your input and time.
Martin Colloms addressed the question of class D amps in a recent HIFICRITIC. He concluded that their designers were ignoring factors that had always been considered important, listing 19 of them. He concluded, among other things:
What this means:
I consider that elements of the audio industry have exaggerated the need for High Fidelity enthusiasts to adopt Class D amplification.
The claimed efficiency advantage is largely valueless except to save for heat sinks for very large sub woofer amplifiers.
High frequency and radio frequency noise is a vital issue and has not been sufficiently addressed with Class D designs. Class D amplifiers conduct and radiate substantial wide frequency range noise, both correlated and de-correlated.
We know that high frequency noise degrades both the sound quality of the connected audio system and the amplifier itself.
HIFICRITIC:Are Class D Amplifiers High Fidelity?
Other parts of this are on the HIFICRITIC web site.
...every person has personal listening preferences and cues, but most important...we all hear differently. Our ears and brain do not respond exactly as the person sitting next to us.I agree 100%.
If more people kept this perspective in mind, there would be far less contentiousness in these threads.
Happy New Year.
kory, there is a lot of variability in class D, but I'll try to answer never the less. As a group, class D amps seem to be quite linear through the frequency range. They tend to lack obvious empasized areas from the midrange down to the low bass. . . on the other hand, in olden days -- that means for models that are more than a couple of years old -- there was a tendency in more than some class D amps to sound 'matter of fact, with only moderate harmonic development and with less than stellar microdynamics. The result was at times more outwardly impressive than ultimately musical. In more recent times deesigners have been evolving topologies that have addressed such limitations. . . often by regulating the power supplies and by preconverting the AC to DC even upstream of the power supply with a variety of techniques. The more successful devices now are not only very linear top to bottom, have excellent bass authority, dynamics staging, imaging. . . but also possess excellent harmonic texture, extremely subtle micro dynamics, detail, and a very extended and 'musical' treble and bass. Some designs are very successful. . . while others may be just a little less.
Merry Christmas everyone! G.
One more time. Class D is as warm as the pre-amp you use.
Solid state sounds, well, solid state. A tube pre with a class d will sound detailed and warm. I went with a tube pre decades ago because I could not stand the sound of a cd player through a solid state pre and power amp. The Class d will faithfully reproduce what it is fed. Tripath, nuforce, UcD, Ice, there are a lot of Class D's. I have both a tripath and UcD based amps. The UcD is superior, but I would rather have the tripath than any Mosfet, JFet, amp. As long as I have the tube-pre.
Jw94055 is right.
Stanwal you have to know the audio business enablers choke at the thought big expensive amps can be usurped by less costly (less profitable) alternatives. It is in the publication's interest to prolong the golden audio stair case. Stereophile printed a similar article. There are many thousands of us who know better.
SET's are high strung little things, like Chihuahua. They look so harmless, but they can nip at your ear lobes! Little amps think they are big amps. You put one next to a Class D and it thinks it's the same. It will not back down, even though Class D is so much bigger! In it's mind it is huge!
SET's require less exercise. They are "lap dogs"; let them sit around and look pretty, but let them know who's boss! They are very protective of their owner. You must keep them in line when guests come. The owner must train them by putting them on a leash. Have guests enter the listening room several times. Yank the leash and tell the SET "Shhhh!" It will obey if you are calm and assertive.
I am the Amp Whisperer!
Coffeey, your stalwart apology of the 'ancient regime' is most commendable. As for Mr. Colloms, my recommendation is for him to have his ear canals pressure washed at his earliest convenience. After the treatment he may experience significantly reduced "wide frequency range noise, both correlated and de-correlated." The relatively painless medical procedure should also enable him to evaluate class D amps significantly more representative of the state of the art than the cute little Flying Mole, lest he fires his next scaving broadside based on insufficient data.
I really dont care what Martin Collums you are anyone else thinks about class D its my ears and money. And i will also say this to you Coffeey i have heard numerous other than D amps in systems that sound like crap. I really dont understand how you could care what others like or not like. Get a life listen to your system and enjoy it i promise i wont knock it. If you like it great thats all that matters.
On reviews more than enough are positive on D amps like Decs TAS. Do a web search, you have it right with Martin one of the few very few.
I think Gvickerschtick started this thread for users of older technology, not so old and new class D amps to share there thoughts on whether there systems sound natural or sweet with class d amps. How about staying on the subject.
As for my class D amps i would say they are on the natural side but sound sweet and clear with all of the power and speed needed for enjoyable long music sessions. On thing is for sure if the source components are not up to it along with your choice of wire you may not get a true picture of how well these amps power your favorite music. Its true if you put trash in you will get trash out. Like everything else in this hobby and all else some things are not for all. I advise anyone to audition gear before you buy. Variety is the spice of life.
Audiofeil: Had we but world enough and time. And infinite amounts of money ,then we would not have to seek the advice of others who are in a better position than we are to hear things and evaluate them. Colloms recently tested 4 class D amps. His mag. is supported by his subscribers and takes no ads. His advice is not colored by what is in his own economic interest. I simply listed his opinion, I neither endorse or reject it. My own interest in class D waned years ago. I listed a source for those who are interested. . To all of those who tell the posters that no ones opinion but ones own counts, that is ,in the final analysis, true, but no one forms an opinion in isolation. I fail to see the harm of listing a finding by a recognized authority ; it seems infinitely preferable to puffing oneself up and shouting that , OF COURSE, THE EQUIPMENT I USE [OR SELL] IS THE BEST.
Stanwal, I looked on the HifiCritic website, but did not find the actual article online, nor the list of models tested. There was only a paragraph listing brands: Bel Canto, NuForce, ProJect, Flying Mole, and the hint at observation on older consumer-grade devices by Sony, Yamaha, and Sharp.
My problem with Mr. Collom is his inappropriate application of the induction step to prove a negative. . . . he has examined some older consumer grade device, then at a later time, he has examined some newer devices which may not even represent state of the art, from his analysis, he extrapolates and generalizes that All switching amplifiers regardless of brand, model, design, past present and future, are inherently flawed.
Stanwal you can always find an opinion favoring your own personal thoughts in todays world of the internet, the information highway. Mentioning Colloms test on class d amps is out of line for this thread, This is not about a shoot out of class d. Gvickerschtick is asking users of these amps this question.
Do you consider class D amps neutral or sweet sounding???
I dont know if you have noticed but negativity of class D amps by some is an on going fact here on this web site.
You may want to reevaluate class D, your statement above
"my interest waned years ago" says you are not up to date with how fast this fine technology is moving in a positive direction. Positive feedback by professional reviewers out numbers negative concerning class D by a very large margin. Thats a fact do a google your self if you dont believe me.
Another fact the cost is not out of the box on most class d amps compared to there tubed and SS brothers which if i read your post right should interest you. The heat factor is a non issue and you dont need a dolly to move them around. The best thing is they are powerful easy to enjoy amps.
Above I said the performance of even the best of class D amps will vary widely depending on associated components.
In my own system, my sound has run from dark and moody, to extra warm and bold, to spacious and airy, to now, well balanced throughout the frequency range of 20 to 20k, detailed, delicate, powerful, sweet; just where I want my sound to be. Imagine, that variation using the same amps all the time.
That is why I want to know every wire, tweak, and component any negative reviewer has before I believe he is giving a class D amp a fair hearing.
I believe that the correct Latin passive periphrastic form in the quoted sentence makes use of the gerundive mode rather than the past participle. . .
"De gustibus non disputandum est."
I also spent 4 wonderful years studying under the Jesuit Fathers. . . no paddles used at my school. . .Father Castellarin -- the head proctor -- much prefer to lift boys by their ears and evaluate cranial resonance in adolescent male subjects by tapping their heads against message boards. . . . a very high end audiophile approach to discipline, of course. Not sure if the study of acoustics under field conditions ever saw formal publication, but it may very well have formed the basis for the recent development of Acoustic Resonators . G.
Class D amps are like Hyundai cars;the specs looks impressive,the look are stylish and most of them have names
that make you dream of some Mythos from old tales.....but really the hype that you get from the class D amps are like those you hear when CD first came out"perfect sound forever'
Really,Mr Collom has gotten it spot on this time.It's soulless;and until you have driven a Mercedes you would not know what you are missing...
"So much for the subject line of this thread."
Do not worry Stltrains. I have discovered that my JRDG 312 is not sounding any less sweet right now playing Dvorak trios, in spite of the few electronic obscurantists around here. . . I am starting to suspect it may be immune to Agon thread noise (chuckles!) G.
Coffey wrote: "Another good one from about 3 or 4 of the same ones who actually think class d sounds good.
You and Martin Collums are lone wolves screaming in the wilderness!
There are thousands who think Class D sounds good. Do a search.
Rowland, Nuforce, Bel Canto, Hypex, Tripath and numerous other major manufacturers are now producing excellent Class D products and more are getting on board everyday. If this market wasn't exploding, these companies certainly wouldn't be wasting their resources on a *failed technology*.
The market is driving the push to Class D because so many people think it sounds great. Not only is it cost effective and efficient, but many, many people believe it sounds as good as or better in some respects than conventional Class A amps. But just like Class A amps, implementation means everything. Class D amps manufactured with a minimum of effort are good for plate amps and inexpensive mass market stereo. But Class D has evolved and will continue to do so. The designers who are pushing the envelope are creating world class sound from Class D.
You can hold on to your *conventional* dogma all you want. That doesn't change the fact that you are swimming against the tide. You can be a dinosaur or embrace change; either way the revolution will continue.
Nostalgia is great, but appreciate it for what it is.
Hypex has made some great leaps in the last 2 years. The company has introduced HG modules with new regulators that sound amazing. Kharma is using Hypex modules in their MP series big buck amps. The technology is proven and sounds really nice. I am now on a second pair of class D amps. I had previously a Karan integrated ($8k) and Melos MAT180 tube amp. The class D is a nice middle ground between good solid state and good tube amp sound. Looking back to the 50's when car manufacturer's were messing around with the new technology fuel injection. Some dropped it after a few years. Now it is on every car made. Technology has finally caught up with the idea as is true with class D. A review written a year or two ago about class D sound is now mute.