Buy a $30 T-amp for even more awesomeness. Uses the famous Tripath chipset.
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You discovered by chance what many home audio enthusiasts, including myself, have learned more methodically and thoroughly: the sound quality of modern class D amps is extremely impressive. The best class D amps are considered some of the best performing amps available regardless of amp type. There are also numerous class D amps that are considered great bargains due to their exceptional performance at affordable prices.
Class D amps have many advantages over traditional home audio amps that make them attractive such as their small size, low weight, high electrical efficiency, cool operating temperature, extremely low distortion levels, low background noise levels,very good dynamics, relatively low cost and high quality sound. These qualities make them ideal amps for everything from hdtv amps to larger versions for hi-end home audio systems.
If you're in need of an amp, I suggest you audition some good class D amps before buying anything else. I'm not aware of a better method to attain such high level performance at a lower price,
I had used tube amps for decades and on a whim decided to jettison my cranky SET amp for a Class D. I agree with Noble100’s comments but I recently returned to tube amplification because I found that Class D amplification created music that was not emotionally involving for me. I do not intend to return to the SS world although it does have it’s advantages if you like the presentation.
When my old Adcom five-channel amp went TU, I needed a low cost alternative to replace it. Already being curious about Class D, I contacted Class D Audio, and wound up building three of their kits. The last one runs two modules and produces 500 Wpc.
I also use an SET 300B amp that I love. For me, Class D has been a very positive experience, they are in use probably 80% of the time, and sound great to my ears. The SET 300B, though, has a beautiful sound in a class of its own.
There are a lot of Class D Custom amplifiers thst are Very good .
i have owned SET amps ,hybrids,class A, class AB .
I now own a class D Amp from The Danish company Gato Audio
the Latest 400-S Which use Pascal Amps also from Denmark ,they totally modify them with Analog input,and output sections
Jeff Roland use these and a Very good . Mark Levenson ,Classe
and a bunch of others are finally seeing digital potential .bydesigning custom inputs and outputs to complement the lowest distortions in the industry as well as high powercooler running ,it is like digital music with now MQA it just keeeps progressing. Every class of Amplifier can be very good if designed
properly ,no more thin not involving digital .i am speaking of
Digital $5k and up .finally digital has progressed a lot in the last few years , even Digital from NAD is very now respectable .
I built a few amplifiers using PCB's that bought from AMAZON. It is important what chips are installed there. I like devices based on TDA7498 and TDA8950 and I don't like TPA3116D2. You must check it in their description. Also, the strongest power depends on the power voltage and if the tell you that output power can be 100W+100W and the voltage can be 12-24VDC you can get 100W per channel only for 24VDC. And one think more: highest power (say, 100W) produces 10% of THD or THD+noise. Good enough sound can be just to half of this power (50W for this case). Open my page in LinkedIn (Vladimir Benkhan). There are several articles there about high-quality sound.
"I also feel All solid state amps can be improved with a good Vacuum Tube preamp."
A few years ago, I would have completely agreed with your statement but I now know it should be modified from ’All’ to ’Most’ solid state amps can be improved with a good Vacuum Tube preamp.
I too used a tube preamp (a VTL 2.5 with NOS Mullard tubes) with various good quality class AB ss amps (Adcom, McCormack and Aragon) for many years to warm up the midrange and have a detailed but smooth treble.
I’ve since discovered that ss preamps combined with ss amps can achieve the same results if they’re both of high quality.
Class D amps from major manufacturers have never sounded terrible. The way some talk, one would think class D had CB Radio sound quality and Class A was HD fm radio. Even 20 years ago class D could sound very good. The sound difference is not anything most people would notice in a “playing in a room background” situation.
I know my class D monoblocks provide significantly better sound quality in my system and room than any of the good quality, big, heavy,inefficient and hot running class AB amps I previously used.
If you're not getting emotionally involved in the music played thru a good class D amp blame it on the music, not the amp.
noble100"I know my class D monoblocks provide significantly better sound quality in my system and room than any of the good quality, big, heavy,inefficient and hot running class AB amps I previously used."
Actually Class AB amplifiers designed for music Reproduction Systems are quite efficient although not nearly as much as Class D but they also avoid the distortion, artifacts, and noise inherently embedded in Class D products and components and if you're Class AB amplifiers ran hot then they were misadjusted as to bias or they were improperly designed or they had insufficient heatsinking.
I apologize if it isn't true, but my impression is that you have limited experience with the various amp types. I'm not sure what type of amp or amps you use in your system, but I'd suggest you get a bit adventurous and try some different amp types just to become better acquainted with their unique attributes, compromises, shortcomings, sound characteristics and sound qualities.
I've consciously done this over the years and I've learned quite a bit. I really enjoy the sound quality of both class A types, solid state and tubes. But their compromises of price, excess heat and extreme electrical inefficiency are too great for me to accommodate.
Due to a limited budget, I've used class AB amps in most of my systems until relatively recently, although I experimented along the way with used ss and tube class A amps, too.
I began my audio journey about 1975 when I was 17 when I bought a Yamaha receiver, Technics turntable with a Shure cartridge and a pair of unfinished Birch Klipsch Heresy speakers. I upgraded to separates a few yrs later, buying an Adcom GFP-565 preamp and GFA555 class AB amp.
You're correct, the class AB amps I've owned don't run hot like class A amps but they do get much warmer than the class D amps I've used. Class AB amps are more electrically efficient than class A amps but still vastly less efficient than class D amps. The class D amps I've used never get hotter than tepid and are the only amps I've ever left on 24/7.
I'm now 60 and about 4 yrs ago I bought my first class D stereo amp more out of curiosity than anything else. I was reading numerous rave reviews from professional reviewers and audio forum members and wanted to gain some personal experience with these amps in my system.
At the time, I was using a VTL 2.5 tube preamp with a high current class AB Aragon 4004 MKII amp (400 w at 4 ohms) driving inefficient (86db at 1 w) Magnepan 2.7QR speakers. I bought a ClassD Audio SDS-440-CS amp (440 w at 4 ohms) that was 1/4 the price, weight and size of the Aragon.
To state this light, affordable and little amp performed exceptionally well in my system is a definite understatement. It outperformed my class AB Aragon in every category I care about: the best bass response I'd ever heard from my panels, a lower noise floor, lower distortion, better dynamics, more detailed, a more stable and realistic soundstage illusion, a more natural midrange and treble response that was very detailed and extended but never overly bright or fatiguing.
I then became curious about the differences between good class D amps and I've since bought another class D stereo amp (an Emerald Physics EP-100.2SE) and now drive my panels with a pair of D-Sonic M3-600-M mono blocks. I've sold all my previous class AB amps and use only class D amps in my combo music and 5.1 ht system.
My current opinion is that good examples of class D amps will eventually make good examples of class AB amps obsolete and only a few of the very best class AB amps such as Pass Labs will possibly survive. And the best examples of class D amps will continue to be among the best amps regardless of amp type.
I suggest you audition a few.