Hype in the audio world! Surely you jest.
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It's not "digital", just a switching power supply. ICEPower is a Class D-like circuit licensed from B&O and is maturing into the basis very good amplifier option. (Many makers greatly modify the ICEPower unit). If you like the Classe' then go for it. Others to consider are Jeff Rowland Design Group, Bel Canto, Spectron and a few others.
Generally, they provide high performance. Don't worry about the operation mode, since it's sound that you're after. Does it match well with the requirements of your speakers should really be your first consideration.
I love my Rowland Continuum 500 integrated amp, driving Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby Grand speakers. The Aerials are great speakers that should benefit from a powerful amp.
Hi Tan 43, 6 months to burn in?
If you are listening to your system, including just having it playing music in the background, say 7 hours a week, that equates to over 1500 hours needed to burn in a unit.
Please take no offense, I just find that extraordinary to take that long to burn any component/speaker straight from the factory.
Wow six months.
Regarding burn-in, I left Rowland Continuum 500 playing music 24/7 for two weeks to achieve 300-hours, from which point I've noted no further improvement. It's easy to set the volume down to where it's barely audible and just let it run a CD on repeat.
BTW, the Continuum 500 runs around 120-degrees in the armoire where I have it installed. That's much warmer than most ICEPower units, thanks to the Power Factor Correction unit intergral to the C500. Most ICEPower amps DO require more time to burn-in than the Continuum.
My two PS Audio GCC-500's drive a pair of B&W 803D's with the power and finesse that I was looking for, but did not want to spend big bucks for other considerations. (if I could afford it, I would have gone with Classe') They did take a while to burn in but have not at all disappointed. The other factor that made the difference for me was the smoothness of the gain cell and a very neutral quality that many reviewers have defined as totally without coloration to the sound. They a very revealing and brutally honest with mediocre recordings. But reward just as much if not more with your finest recordings. Even to the point of being addictive.
the only 'digital' amp that know that is really worth the hype is the Red Wine Audio 30.2 - http://www.redwineaudio.com/Signature_30.2.html
i've tried ice amps, UcD, nuforce and even other tripath amps but none come even remotely close to the RWA, which i own and love and dont even consider it class-d or whatever. it is a musical component that approaches the tonal qualities of tubes but is better than tubes in quite a few aspects. the only thing is if you need high power it might not be enough but it is surprisingly powerful for its power rating.
A friend who has tried a lot of different amps and has a lot of money tied up in his equipment has been using two Acoustic REality eAR 502's bridged. He has had these a couple of years and has had no desire to change them. He says they are the best he has heard.
I was about to buy the Acoustic Reality eAR 202 Ref when I found the NHT Power2 based on the same B&O IcePower modules (same modules Wired for Sound uses) for about a third of the price. I am no expert, but I think this amp sounds great. Much better than the NAD it replaced.
I paid $699 for the Power2 and I just checked and they have dropped the price to $499. Although I'm a bit peeved as I have only had this amp a little over a month, I still think $700 was a good buy. $500 is a steal!
My bad Tan43, I was calculating by approx. days but I posted weeks.My apologies.For me generally, when I buy a new component, I let it run for basically a week 24/7 or at least pretty close to that to get around 100 hours to make sure I am OK with it. I mean you can generally get 250 hours or so burn in on a component within a month. I have never really noticed any additional improvements in any component I have had past that time frame.
I just made some assumptions.
If shipping to return a product from a trial period is too much of a hassle then a class D amp could easily be too much of a hassle to integrate into your system.
There can be some issues regarding the quality of your AC and the physical placement of the component that could require some effort to enjoy the full potential of some of these amps.
Don't get me wrong I'm a very satisfied NuForce user yet some people expecting a plug and play devise have been disappointed by some easily remedied issues.