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). 
https://merrillaudio.net

Review of Element 118 at this link:
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/superioraudio/equipment/1018/Merrill_Audio_Element_118_Monoblock_Amplif...

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.)
http://agdproduction.com
Review of the Vivace Class D moniblocks at this link (warning: link might not work (1/11/2019)):
https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/agd-production-vivace-gantube-monoblock-ampli...

Technics SE-R1 Class D stereo amp ($17k per stereo amp, 150WPC into 8 ohms, 300WPC into 4 ohms) 
https://www.technics.com/us/products/r1/se-r1.html
Preliminary review of the Technics SE-R1 at this link:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/technics-se-r1-digital-amplifier
Technics also has a lower priced GaN-based class D integrated amp in their catalog:
https://www.technics.com/us/products/grand-class/stereo-integrated-amplifier-su-g700.html

Anyone listened to or own any of these amps?


Previewcelander
Countries are illusions.....we make it up.....Languages and culture are real.....borders are not.
In many ways your words are true, but not when electronics are involved- it can make a huge difference where the circuit was built! Right now there is an epidemic of counterfeit transistors on ebay, made in China to look like the real thing. Its bad enough that ebay has become a bad place to look for semiconductors as there are so many vendors shipping parts that should have been made in the US, UK or Japan that are in China, and the parts they are shipping are simply not made in those countries and also simply not meeting spec. While many things arise out of declaration, like borders and the value of money, the simple fact is parts that don't meet spec can and do fail easily. Physical laws don't change out of declaration :)
The fact that there are Chinese fake parts does not mean that a high end amp or other audio product made in China has any of these fake parts in it.  Look at the incredible Chinese made DACs that are out now:...SMSL 500, 400, Topping D90, Gustard A22, LKS MH-DA004, Musical Paradise, etc......no fake parts in these things....and they are sonically killer.  Same thing will happen with future GaN amps from China......we are going to get so much for so little money. 

Trouble with GaNs is that a company has to design their own circuit and board for a GaN based amp.  There are no all in one class D amp chips with built in GaN output devices.  Right now you can buy a populated stereo board from China that costs $100 that does 200 watts a channel using one of the cheap class D chip amps available from Ti or other companies....these boards are easy to design because the circuit for it is on the chips spec sheet.....But a GaN based design must be done from the ground up.  This is why you don't see cheap Chinese GaN amps yet.  But, when there is demand, the first one will sell like crazy and then all the other Chinese companies will jump in.  Topping releases their incredible AKM 4499 based $800 DAC and then within a couple of months SMSL clones it with their new 400 DAC.....same price, same chips, same features, same look.  Chinese copy each other faster than they copy us.  This is going to snowball once the first company does it.  I am emailing SMSL, Topping, Gustard and LKS and asking them to be first to make a GaN amp.  GaN amps at $1000....with very good sound that could be tweaked to create $10,000 sound.....yea baby!
Wow, China seems like a really nice place...so caring for it's people and the "Greater Good".  Always sharing goodwill and never stealing intellectual property from others who created it.  What's more, their people are so "kind and giving" that they are willing to work for a penance so that others can have nice things for cheap. Heck, the CCP even donated the Chinese Flu to the rest of the world for free! 

The fact of the matter is, Evil exists in the world.  Not all people are "good" or wish you well, and it ain't just because of "Mommy and Daddy issues".  The CCP laughs at those who give it the benefit of the doubt, which makes it stronger and spreads more pain in the world.

That's TRUTH. 

My preference will always to be to buy something made elsewhere than China and buy local / USA if it exists. That more manufacturing is moving out of CHI-NUH is a GREAT thing for the world. 
You are China and China is you.  We are the world....we are the universe! Hendrix said....."Scuse me, while I kiss the sky"   It is not a them versus us world.....unless you want to see it that way.  Of course, some Chinese manufacturers (and others, including in any country)  take advantage of low pay, rent, etc.  Yes, some of them/us/we are not very nice.....just like people anywhere.  However, you would be paying way, way more for most of the things you buy if it were not for these conditions.  Your cell phones, your flat screens, your computers, your tablets, your most everything you buy.....made overseas......You can like it, you can dislike it.  You can love it, you can hate it.  I choose to LOVE.  Real love transcends human love.....it is unconditional.  Yes, we need to point out very strongly when this LOVE is not present.  Let us start with ourselves.....for when you point a finger.....three are pointing back at you.  You only see your own desires......your own reflection.  More and more I see beauty with every breath.  What do you want to see and feel?......you can create it right now.....we are that powerful.  We are amazing.
Before I ask that we get back on topic, I'll throw in my two cents:

while I realize many have "no option" but to purchase Chinese products, surely that does not apply to audio, does it? With so many non-Chinese offerings, why in the world would one prefer to buy from a country that blatantly copies the hard earned technology of other audio companies, cheats at almost every opportunity and promotes that as a national mantra?

Oh, right, it's all about the price. Really? Well, I'll count myself as one of the fortunate who can afford to purchase audio worthy of my wallet and morals.

Now, can we all just get back on topic?