GaN-based Class D power amps

The use of GaN-based power transistor tech is now emerging for Class D audio power amplifiers. Seems appropriate to devote a forum thread to this topic. At least 3 companies have commercial class D amps in their books:

Merrill Audio, with their model Element 118 ($36k per monoblock, 400 W into 8 ohms, 800W into 4 ohms), Element 116 ($22k per monoblock, 300 W into 8 ohms, 600W into 4 ohms) and Element 114 (coming soon).

Review of Element 118 at this link:

ADG Productions, with their Vivace Class D amp ($15k per monoblock pair, 100W into 4 ohms). (The designer emailed me indicating he has another product in the pipeline.)
Review of the Vivace Class D moniblocks at this link (warning: link might not work (1/11/2019)):

Technics SE-R1 Class D stereo amp ($17k per stereo amp, 150WPC into 8 ohms, 300WPC into 4 ohms)
Preliminary review of the Technics SE-R1 at this link:
Technics also has a lower priced GaN-based class D integrated amp in their catalog:

Anyone listened to or own any of these amps?


Showing 6 responses by djones51

I know I'm not the brightest bulb in the lamp but what exactly does that phase shift mean in the link from George? Compared to a speaker or room interaction it's not much or is it?  I don't know that I've ever seen a plot like that before. 
Thanks, I've been reading a bit on phase shift or angle, same thing ??  Still trying to digest it, from one article it appears they're saying not to worry to much about it in an amp. 

In one sense, you can consider the effects of phase angle being built into the frequency response (which represents voltage sensitivity over the full bandwidth): whether the phase angle is 0 degrees or 60 degrees, the voltage demanded from the amplifier remains the same. As a result you don’t have to worry that an amplifier is going to have to swing loads of extra voltage and current in order to cover the effects of a difficult phase angle.

Thank everyone for explaining. I read this as well which to me is showing what roberttdid is saying about the square wave. If the phase shift is distorting it would look like figure 3. In the link.
I guess I'm doomed to not understanding this. I thought a phase shift like that shown in the plot where it dips is a negative shift which means a lag in the signal. Something not audible just that the whole signal is delayed my a few microseconds. I don't know . 🙄
Bruno Putzey on phase shift in his purifi module. 

Class D has achieved very low levels of distortion, but is it possible for class D amplifiers to continue their evolution into something close to a straight wire with gain, i.e. minimal phase shift in the audio band? (A similar question from maty).


Bruno: The 1ET400 module has the frequency and phase response of a 2nd order Butterworth filter cornering at 60kHz. If you look at the phase shift of that, it’s very nearly “linear phase” in the audio band. To take some rough numbers, it if you have a circuit that has a 0.2 degree phase shift at 200Hz, 2 degrees at 2kHz and 20 degrees at 20kHz, that’s the same as saying it has “0.001 degree per Hertz” phase shift. That’s another way of saying that the whole signal is simply delayed by 2.8 microseconds. If you plot phase shift on a linear frequency scale that’s immediately obvious because you get a straight line. Of course a simple delay doesn’t change the sound. It’s literally the same as starting your music a few microseconds later.


Lars: My dad used to say that if you left a CD in its case without playing it back, it’d just sit there accumulating massive amounts of phase shift as time went by.


Bruno: What that matters to sound is how much phase shift differs from a pure delay. Anyone who’s ever done phase measurements on speakers will remember that you have to remove the time-of-flight delay from the data, for instance by marking the leading edge of the impulse response. Otherwise the linear phase shift corresponding to the distance between the speaker and the mic completely clouds the picture. In the case of the 1ET400 module it’s just under 1 degree at 20kHz. There never was a phase shift problem in class D, it’s simply a trick of the light that happens when you plot the phase response on a log scale without removing the fixed delay.

The way I understand it if the phase shift is different between the two channels in a stereo amp then one signal would be slightly behind the other which would sound like distortion?

 @atmasphere  Is saying "to avoid this both channels have to have enough bandwidth that this is off the table."
Or I am still lost??