How to tell the quality of a digital amp.


Hello,

I am new to the world of digital and I recently purchased a pair of Dynaudio Air20 active monitors that have digital amplification. These are relatively older amps (released in 2002 or so). I was wondering if the fast developing world of digital technology has rendered these amps obsolete. How does one discern the specs of a digital amp to compare them?

Here is a link to the Air20s specs:
http://www.dynaudioprofessional.com/en/air-series/monitors/air20/

I do notice that the digital inputs on the monitors yield a much cleaner sound than the analog inputs. I suspect this is because of the ADCs are not of the greatest quality.
I appreciate any advise.

Harish
woofer72
"How does one discern the specs of a digital amp to compare them? "

You can't tell what an amp sounds like by looking at the specs. You need to listen to it. If it sounds good, its not obsolete.

Did you see my other post? I listed a preamp that might work for you.
Nothing that still works well and fills a need is obsolete.

Having said that Class D amp technology has advanced since 2002 and continues to do so so the technology has improved in general. Improved bandwidth is one telling specification where available. Only you can determine whether or not that matters in your case or not.
Zd542- yes I am aware of the NAD M12, thanks for input anyhow. This preamp would be perfect of my needs (other than the fact it's manufactured in China) but unfortunately its way out of my price range (which is $1,500-$2k). I will most likely have to look in the pro audio market.

Regarding the obsolete question- perhaps obsolete is was not an appropriate term. I should have said out dated enough that in comparison, something new would sound drastically better. I see what you're saying by not judging by specs, however, specs are useful tools to give an idea where something stands. For instance, an old tube receiver from the 60s may have higher distortion than a new amp and it is safe to say that one will hear the difference. The same can be said about SACD/Blu Ray vs. Redbook.

I need to read up on the subject of digital amplification, I suppose. Looking for sampling rates would be one example of a spec that is pertinent. However, its true-if it still sound good, it's not obsolete. The Air20s sound great. Just wondering how long it will be before something drastically better comes along. Digital seems to be evolving much faster than analog these days.

Mapman- thanks for your input.
"I will most likely have to look in the pro audio market."

A Behringer DEQ 24/96 will probably work for you. They sell for around $300. If you live near a Guitar Center, buy one from them. They have a very good return policy if you don't like it for some reason, just take it back.
Regarding the obsolete question- perhaps obsolete is was not an appropriate term. I should have said out dated enough that in comparison, something new would sound drastically better.
you must be new to audio as well, Woofer72, not just to class-D amplification to make such a statement? In audio most know that newer doesn't necessarily mean better sonics. There's a lot of vintage gear that sounds fantastic even today.

I see what you're saying by not judging by specs, however, specs are useful tools to give an idea where something stands.
thanks for the link to the Dynaudio Air20 specs. if i look at those specs, there's nothing in there to inform me that this unit is a 2002 unit i.e. it's 13 years old. the specs look like any other 2015 spec. Today's speaker might support 384KHz but other than that i don't see anything adverse in the specs. Therefore, this unit must sound good today - by your logic...

For instance, an old tube receiver from the 60s may have higher distortion than a new amp and it is safe to say that one will hear the difference.
yeah - the vintage unit might sound better!! ;-) Tube amplifiers often have much higher distortion parameters than their s.s. counterparts but that is often no measure to their sonics. These higher distortion tube amps often sound better than their s.s. counterparts. Even if you hear the higher distortion you might actually prefer it - who's to say?

The same can be said about SACD/Blu Ray vs. Redbook.
much flogged topic here on Audiogon. Each side is holding firm & I don't want to stir the pot here. Suffice it to say that Redbook has made great strides in SQ recently...

I need to read up on the subject of digital amplification,
please, please - pretty please, don't call a plate amp "digital amplification" because it isn't. it's class-D amplification. it's essentially an analog circuit operating in the discrete-voltage, continuous-time domain. The output stage of a class-D amp switches between 2 discrete voltages but the rest of the circuitry is analog.

However, its true-if it still sound good, it's not obsolete. The Air20s sound great. Just wondering how long it will be before something drastically better comes along. Digital seems to be evolving much faster than analog these days.
when will something come along that will better the Air20? That could have happened the day these Air20 were officially launched into the market by Dynaudio. There's no specific time-line on when better sounding audio products appear in the market. What would make better sense for you is for you to ascertain what is missing from the sonic delivery of this speaker in your system i.e. what attribute(s) do you want improved & then search for a product that rectifies that deficiency. Otherwise, you'll be on the audio merry-go-round your entire life (not that you could not be anyway!! ;-) ). Hunting aimlessly will get down many wrong rabbit-holes....

Digital seems to be evolving much faster than analog these days.
yeah! they are finally figuring out how to make digital products that sound good i.e. the industry seems to have understood better how digital works & how to implement it correctly.
But........this(digital) has nothing to do with your (class-D) plate amp in your Air20.
The evolution of better class-D plate amps is also well on its way but that does not necessarily mean that you need to trash the Air20 merely due to its age....
You couldn't have broken that down any better.
Thanks for your kind words Zd542.